The Assam government, which had announced the roads would be renamed to reflect the cultural ethos of the state, withdrew its decision to name a new road after Swami Muktananda Saraswati in the face of public outcry against it.
He had proposed naming a new alternative road leading to Kamakhya Temple atop Nilachal Hill in the city after the monk, leading the general public to take to social media to voice their opposition.
Most people have claimed that the person whose name the road bears has no connection with Assam or its people.
Overturning the decision, the Minister of the State Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ashok Singhal, wrote on Twitter on Friday: “The naming of the alternative route leading to Kamakhya Dham via Pandu Ghat as ‘Swami Muktananda Saraswati Path “has been withdrawn with immediate effect due to public objections.
“We respect public opinion! Mr. Singhal added.
A public notice issued by the Commissioner of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation and published in newspapers on February 14 had said that road residents had “prayed” to name it Swami Muktananda Saraswati Road.
He had requested the objection, if any, of the public in this regard within 15 days of the publication of the notice.
National award-winning film critic and filmmaker Utpal Borpujari, who had questioned the original proposal, liked the government’s decision to withdraw the new name.
“Very good decision. Thank you @TheAshokSinghal. It will be interesting to know who came up with the idea of assigning said name, and why,” Mr Borpujari tweeted.
The Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), India, Prodyut Bora also questioned why the government chose this particular name.
“@TheAshokSinghal just out of curiosity: who is Swami Muktananda Saraswati? I googled and found several Swami Muktananda (this 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 hailed the government’s decision to reverse its decision. “The good thing about this government is that they don’t hesitate to go back on decisions taking into account the public mood, which makes it a matter of prestige. Sometimes you have to do one step back to take two steps forward!” he tweeted.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said on February 16 that a portal would soon be launched to invite suggestions for changing names of places across Assam that do not reflect the culture and civilization of the state.
“There’s a lot in a name. The name of a city, town or village should represent its culture, tradition and civilization. We will launch a portal to invite suggestions on name change across Assam which is 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 the name change as the government should focus more on constructive works such as building roads and proper infrastructure in the state.
The cabinet of Assam had decided last September to rename the national park of Rajiv Gandhi in national park of Orang.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)