At a time when there have been claims and counter-claims over the destruction of the Veterinary Science College playground at Khanapara in Guwahati between the Assam Agricultural University authorities and the Assam Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), BJP’s Mangaldai MP Ramen Deka has appealed to Sarbananda Sonowal-led State Government to think over the matter.
The senior BJP leader expressed before Northeast Now about the need of a place instead of playground to organize public protests and political meetings.
Urging the Sonowal-led Government to think about such a place, MP Deka said, “In democracy, there is need of a separate place to hold various meetings, dharna or protests.”
Earlier, former Ranji players, sports organizers, various other organizations demanded Chief Minister Sonowal’s intervention into the matter.
Stating that “there is no such place in Assam”, Deka said that there is need of a place in Guwahati where two to three lakhs of people can gather at a time.
Citing examples of different such public places in the country including Esplanade in Kolkata, Ramlila Maidan in Delhi and Shivaji Maidan in Mumbai, Deka said, “If the Assam Government makes arrangement of such a place, then there would be no need to go to the Veterinary Science College playground at Khanapara.”
The MP also said, “As we are in a democratic country, we will have to gather, organize rally. In democracy, there is need of a public place to express our views.”
On the other hand, while Ranjeet Neog, Associate Director of Students’ Welfare of the Assam Agricultural University (AAU), in an RTI reply held the BJP and Kamrup (Metro) administration responsible for the destruction of the playground at Khanapara, Deka claimed, “The BJP has not destroyed the playground.”
Stating that apart from Government programmes, various political and non-political organizations also hold meetings at the playground, the BJP leader said, “We are not the only party who holds meeting. The Congress and other political parties have also organized meetings here. Various public meetings have also been held.”
It may be mentioned that the inaugural ceremony for setting up of 19 cancer hospitals across Assam has been scheduled to be held on June 18, 2018 in this playground.
After the appeal of the ruling party’s senior MP to the Assam Government to think over a separate place for organizing public meetings instead of playground in Guwahati, the role of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who wants to ‘turn Guwahati into a sports capital’, would be significant.
After a series of detailed reports published in Northeast Now regarding the issue of the destruction of such a huge playground equipped with modern facilities for activities having no connection with sports, a section of Ranji players, sports organizers, All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and the Congress have already expressed their concern.
This multi-facility sports project, covering 46.60 bighas of land, was established in 1977 for development of various sports.