Two days after he appealed to the people of the state to be stakeholders in construction of a memorial for legendary musician, singer, poet and filmmaker Bhupen Hazarika, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has now sought a sum of Rs 500 crore from the Centre to take up several projects in order to keep his memory and tradition alive.
“The state government is going to ask for a sum of Rs 500 crore from the Centre to implement several schemes in Bhupen Hazarika’s memory. We have decided to set up a cultural centre in Guwahati in his name that will help propagate music, art, culture and cinema. Moreover, a similar centre will be also set up at each district, sub-division and block,” an official press note issued by the chief minister’s office quoting Gogoi said.
Expressing confidence that the Centre would agree to the Rs 500-crore proposal, Chief Minister Gogoi said his government did not want to convert Hazarika’s memorial in Guwahati a government affair. “Hazarika was a people’s artist. The government has taken steps to construct his memorial in Guwahati as early as possible. A sum of Rs 10 crore has been already earmarked in the state budget,” he said.
On Wednesday, Gogoi had almost hit a hornet’s nest by saying that the people of the state would have to bear 20 per cent cost of the Bhupen Hazarika memorial. While he said so while speaking to media after paying tributes to the artist on his third death anniversary, the opposition hit out at the chief minister by asking how a government could do so when the entire money that the government handles actually belongs to the people.
Meanwhile, the Assam government has already taken up a scheme to construct an open-air stage and a park in all the 219 development blocks of the state in memory of Bhupen Hazarika. Foundation stones of all the 219 projects were simultaneously laid on Wednesday with chief minister Gogoi himself laying one at Rampur block near here.
The state government has announced a grant of Rs 25 lakh to each block for construction of the Bhupen Hazarika memorial open-air stage and developing an adjoining park. State rural development minister Rakibul Hussain said the government would spend Rs 55 crore in this project.