Guwahati, Feb 24 (IANS) Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday launched the Rs 710 crore Asom Darshan scheme, calling it a fulfilment of the promise to preserve and promote the state’s spiritual and historical heritage.
The comprehensive scheme seeks to develop religious places of all faiths, including 915 institutions.
“It has been our promise to preserve and promote Assam’s spiritual and historical heritage. Fulfilling our promise, we have identified 915 religious institutions for infrastructure development and a total of Rs 710 crore will be sanctioned for the same,” Sonowal said during a programme at the Veterinary College ground in Khanapara.
He said the scheme would protect, conserve and develop Assam’s religious sites and tourism spots, which are not only mesmerising for their scenic beauty and historic importance, but are also icons of the state.
Finance and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the scheme would strengthen the state’s tourism potential and showcase Assam’s vibrant cultural and historical traditions to tourists from all over the world.
The scheme has four components — annuity grant to Devalayas; improving basic infrastructure of places of natural beauty and historical significance; improving key infrastructure in religious places; improved connectivity for visitors.
The 915 religious institutions include 459 temples, 186 ‘satras’ (Vaishnav monasteries), 123 namghars (prayer and community halls), 47 mosques and 27 churches.
To make the experience of tourists pleasant and seamless, a budget of Rs 10 lakh will be given to each tourist destination under the Asom Darshan scheme.
“The scheme would be implemented by Deputy Commissioners of respective districts under the Transformation and Development department,” he said.
A budget of Rs 150 crore has been allocated under the Asom Darshan scheme to improve the infrastructure of 316 listed destinations.
A fixed amount would be provided to each place for construction of restrooms and providing clean drinking water and garbage disposal facilities, he said.
The project has raised the annuity given to each religious and charitable institution of public nature by Rs 2 lakh and also promises one-time grant of Rs 1 lakh for CCTV set up.
The second phase of the scheme would entail promotion of 316 tourist destinations and picnic spots.