SIVASAGAR, Feb 24: The Sivaratri Mela in Sivasagar concluded on February 21 and even after three days, the streets of Sivasagar around the historic Siva Doul, Temple Road, Hospital Road, and Station Chariali are littered with garbage.
Sources claim that there has been a conflict going on between the Sivasagar Municipality Board (SMB) and the Siva-doul Development Committee (SDC) in regards to cleaning the town. According to the Development Committee, Rs 60,000 was given to SMB for cleaning the area around the temple, once the Mela ends. But the chairperson of SMB, Mrinali Konwar told this correspondent that the amount is not adequate enough for the purpose of cleaning such a vast area and she has been requesting the deputy commissioner of Sivasagar, who is also the president of SDC to increase the amount to Rs 1 lakh.
According to sources, the Doul Committee earned nearly a crore from the Mela in terms of rent from six hundred-odd stalls, sponsorship, advertisements, and donations from devotees and hence there should not be any shortage of money for the cleanliness drive.
The candidates of the ongoing HSSLC examinations in Sibsagar Girls’ College and Fuleswari Girls’ HS School had a harrowing time during the Mela as they had to wade through the sea of humanity flooding the street leading to the institutions on February 20.
Several senior citizens in Sivasagar have expressed displeasure over holding the mela for five days.
Advocate Diganta Mangal Neog, advocate Nayanmoni Baruah, and advocate Ajit Gogoi told this correspondent that the Sivasagar District Administration should never allow this kind of a Mela only for commercial interests. It pollutes the whole environment of the town. Over a thousand small traders gathered here with their wares this time and over six hundred put up stalls made by the Organising Committee at exorbitant rents ranging from a thousand to thirty thousand. Some traders had to take the stalls from agents who had earlier booked them online.
Punaram Mili, a leading citizen, said that it is big harassment of the local population and such Mela does not have any relation with the observance of Sivaratri. The mela does not help the small traders from distant places in any way as some traders shed tears over the loss incurred over five days as the rent of their stalls was very high.
Sheikh Shamsher, a senior advocate, said that such trade fares on roads should not be for more than two days. Further, the purchasing power of the common people has dwindled over the years due to the current economic situation, he added.
Many others say that the Mela brought the economic activities and offices to a standstill.