Assam's river Island Majuli bids for World Heritage site tag
The Culture Ministry has decided to send the world's largest river Island Majuli to be included in the World Heritage Sites of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisaton (UNESCO) this year. According to the sources, the ministry has approved the proposal of Assam government and a team of officers led by the Minister of State for Culture and Tourism will visit the site in first week of April.
"The proposal was approved by the Culture Ministry after Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal met Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma," said a senior officer of the Culture Ministry. "Sharma along with team of senior officers will go to visit the site on April 2," he informed.
Presently, there are 35 sites, out of which 27 are historical/cultural monuments, seven natural sites and a mixed category in the World Heritage Sites of India in UNESCO list. If approved, Majuli will be the first River Island to be included in the list. "It's the largest river island in the world. It's also the largest inhabited river island of the world an entire district is situated on it. We are confident that our proposal will be approved by UNESCO," added the officer.
Majuli, the first island district in the country, was spread around 1250 sq km in 20th century but due to soil erosion and deforestation it has shrunk to now only 483 sq km. "The funds for the development of the island will surely help in restoring forest cover and over all development of the island along with natural conservation," said the officer.
The island is formed in the Brahmaputra River in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti, a branch of Brhamaputra. It is around 400 km from Guwahati. The island is the abode of the new Vaisnavite culture of Assam and was formed due to course change by Brahmaputra and its tributaries mainly Lohit river.