Hindus help Muslims Shift Puranigudam Minar in Assam
Nagaon: In a heart-warming gesture, locals, cutting across religious lines, have been tirelessly helping Muslims shift the 100-year old, two-storeyed minaret in Puranigudam area in Nagaon district after there was a fear of its demolition for the expansion of the National Highway (NH)-37 into a four lane highway from Nagaon to Upper Assam.In 2015, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), had proposed the expansion of NH-37; however, the heritage structure became a hurdle, so the authorities decided to demolish it. As soon as the locals heard the news, they approached the district administration with a memorandum to preserve the Minar. But, the NHAI and the public works department said that it was impossible to move it; therefore, it had to be destroyed.
Unabated, the locals decided to preserve their symbol of unity by any means possible. They started a crowdfunding initiative and came in contact with a Haryana-based engineering firm, RR Sons, that extended help to them. The engineer, Gurdeep Singh said, “We proposed a technique called lifting and shifting. We lift the structure from its base using plate rollers and move it.” He further added, “The base of the Minar has a perimeter of 42 feet, intricately designed. A few accidents have damaged it a little over the years. Now the Minar is being moved 70-feet away from the original site, engaging six labourers. The work is 60% done. In another 20 days we will be able to finish it.”After four years of strenuous battle, the locals are finally relieved and feel secure.
Chittaranjan Borah, a resident of Puranigudam, who was one of the first persons to oppose the demolition, said, “It has been four years since we took the initiative to preserve the site. The Minar is a symbol of harmony in Nagaon. Through social media, a lot of people are now aware of it and help is coming in from all quarters.”
(Extracted from sabrangindia.in)