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Ahom land battles invaders, again

- Govt to bring out maps to protect historical sites from land sharks
File picture of the famous royal maidam (burial ground) at Charaideo

Jorhat, Oct. 23: The land of the Ahom rulers is once again under threat from a new breed of invaders — encroachers. But the Sivasagar administration has drawn up a plan to battle encroachment to protect the district’s historical monuments and sites.

The administration has decided to prepare exclusive site-specific maps of all areas of historical significance in the district. These maps will be stored in digital format, along with revenue-circle-wise dag (or patta) numbers of the plots of the sites.

Printed booklets and CDs of such maps will be distributed to all social organisations to make people aware of the exact boundaries of the sites and to prevent land sharks from encroaching on them by manipulating or forging land documents.

Sivasagar deputy commissioner S.S. Meenakshi Sundaram told The Telegraph that they would create a database listing all historical sites, small and big, in the district. Sivasagar was once the capital of the Ahom rulers who built many monuments.

“Currently, there is information regarding only 12 monuments and sites under the Archaeological Survey of India’s supervision and 17 such places under the state archaeology (department’s) supervision, but according to unofficial information there are over 150 sites of historical importance across the district,” Sundaram said.

He said officials of the revenue and state archaeology departments had started a survey in all the seven revenue circles of the district. After collecting information on the historical sites, they will find the dag numbers of the sites from the land records branch of the revenue department and prepare sketches and maps of the sites.

All this data will be digitally stored at the revenue circle offices and printed in booklets and made available to the public.

Any complaints regarding encroachment on historical sites will be immediately verified and if anybody has acquired land patta of such plots by manipulating land record information then it will be instantaneously cancelled, Sundaram said.

The director of Assam’s archaeology department, Rekha Kouli, told this correspondent that the administration’s initiative was expected to create awareness among the people.

“Our department will get a boost by such an effort because, otherwise, we are limited both in terms of funds and manpower,” Kouli said. She said her department would request other districts, too, to undertake such a plan.

Apart from the largest amphitheatre in Asia, Rangghar, Sivasagar boasts of three large tanks built by the monarchy — Sivasagar, Joysagar and Gaurisagar — each having a large doul (temple), along with palaces — Talatal Ghar and Kareng Ghar.

Talatal Ghar has identical doors and windows and an underground escape route connected to a river.

Charaideo, the first capital of the Ahoms and about 30km from Sivasagar, has the famous royal maidam (burial ground), having tomb vaults resembling the famous pyramids of Egypt.