Guwahati: The Assam government, which had announced that roads would be renamed to reflect the cultural ethos of the state, withdrew its decision to name a new road after Swami Muktananda Saraswati here in the face of public outcry against it.

It had proposed to name a new alternate road leading to the Kamakhya temple atop Nilachal hill in the city after the monk, which had led to the general people taking to the social media to express their opposition to it.

Most of the people claimed that the person after whom the road is being named had no connection with Assam or its people.

Reverting the decision, state Housing and Urban Affairs Department Minister Ashok Singhal wrote on Twitter on Friday: The naming of the alternate road to Kamakhya Dham through Pandu Ghat as Swami Muktananda Saraswati Path’ has been withdrawn with immediate effect owing to public objections.

We respect public opinions! Singhal added.

A public notice issued by the Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation and published in newspapers on February 14 had said that the residents of the road have “prayed” for naming it as Swami Muktananda Saraswati Road.

It had sought objection, if any, from the public in this regard within 15 days of publication of the notice.

National award winning film critic and filmmaker Utpal Borpujari, who had questioned the initial proposal, appreciated the government’s decision to withdraw the new name.

Very good decision. Thank you @TheAshokSinghal. It will be interesting to know whose idea was it to bestow the said name, and why, Borpujari tweeted.

Chairman of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), India, Prodyut Bora also questioned why the government had chosen that particular name.

@TheAshokSinghal just out of curiosity: who is Swami Muktananda Saraswati? I searched on Google and found several Swami Muktananda (it is a common name among monks). But who was the monk you were specifically referring to? I think you owe this information to the public, Bora posted on the microblogging platform.

Uttam Kumar Sharma lauded the government’s move to reverse its decision. One good thing about this Government is that, it doesn’t shy away from reversing decisions considering public mood making it a prestige issue. It is necessary sometimes to take one step backward to take two steps forward! he tweeted.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said on February 16 that a portal would be launched soon to invite suggestions for change of names of places across Assam that do not reflect the culture and civilisation of the state.

”There’s much in a name. Name of a city, town or village should represent its culture, tradition and civilisation. We shall launch a portal to invite suggestions on change of names across Assam which are contrary to our civilisation, culture and derogatory to any caste or community”, the chief minister had tweeted.

Several Twitter users had questioned the need for changing names when the government should be concentrating more on constructive works like building proper roads and infrastructure in the state.

The Assam cabinet had decided in September last to rename the Rajiv Gandhi National Park as Orang National Park.

Also read: State cannot be permitted to take benefit of its own wrong: SC

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