Pledge to promote wetland tourism - Dibrugarh villagers take vow to turn Merbil into favoured destination

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By RIPUNJOY DAS
  • Published 27.09.10
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Sasoni (Dibrugarh), Sept. 26: Thousands of villagers from numerous villages from Sasoni mouza in Upper Assam’s Dibrugarh district today took a pledge to turn Merbil, a scenic wetland, into a favourite destination for eco-tourism.

The Merbil Eco-Tourism Project Development Committee organised the function at Sasoni primary school playground.

Five hundred women in their best traditional outfits, 13 teams of gayon and bayon (singers and musicians), several cultural groups, children and young girls and around 5,000 villagers led by two beautifully decorated elephants welcomed guests with a 3km long procession to the venue.

Dozens of senior officials of Navratna company Oil India Ltd (OIL) led by its chairman and managing director Nayan Moni Borah were present on the occasion.

Borah and his colleagues, including like director (human resources and business development) Nripen Bharali, resident chief executive of the Duliajan field headquarters Nirmal Kumar Agarwal, general manager (corporate communications and public communications) Dipti Dayal Khound and Dibrugarh deputy commissioner G.D. Tripathi were touched with the cordial reception. They promised to extend all help in their official and personal capacities.

When 2,000 schoolchildren sang O mur apunar desh, led by the teachers of Sasoni Sangeet Bidyalaya, the entire gathering stood in unison to join in sing the song.

The spirits of the villagers were not dampened by heavy showers.

“I am really touched with the kind of reception we have received here today. We from Oil India Limited will do whatever we can for the project. I am personally very keen to see the youths of the area to take up the mantle of the project and convert it into a world class tourist spot for domestic as well as foreign tourists,” Borah said.

The waterbody, around 4.7 square km in area, is located in Sasoni revenue block of the district, some 70km from here.

The wetland, connected to the Buridehing river, is endowed with extensive water resources.

Tripathi said that Rs 2 crore was kept aside for the area under the centrally-sponsored NREGA scheme.

“We can build up the roads and culverts in the area and clean up the water body, I have never seen so much of interest in a community-based project,” he said.

Moni Manik Gogoi, a social worker of the area and the chief architect of the project, received a set of solar lamps from the OIL CMD.

The company plans to light up the entire area with such lamps during the next three months.

The members of Duliajan Rotary Club also handed over a laptop to the committee.

Another businessman assured a help of Rs 50,000 from his side.

“We are really indebted to all who had turned up. We are absolutely sure that with help from all sides the project, which is dream for many of us here, will definitely turn into a reality within a very short period”, said Gogoi, the president of the committee.

The ladies of the village served around 50,000 pithas and ladoos for the gathering.