Century-old golf course wins battle to preserve its turf
A century-old golf course at Chabua in Assam's Dibrugarh district where the last Viceroy of British India, Lord Louis Mountbatten had once played the nine holes, was almost plowed up and turned into part of a tea estate, till a group of golf enthusiasts intervened to save the heritage course. A meeting between golfers, the government, and a tea giant was held last week.
Dibrugarh and Tinsukia are home to ten heritage golf courses
The tea giant wanted to use the Kanjikhowa Golf Course to plant tea. In the meeting, they all luckily agreed to save the heritage golfing green. The twin districts of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia in Upper Assam, famous for its tea are home to ten such heritage golf courses where the British planters and army officers at one time played, wined, and dined.
Tea estate started plowing the course up to plant tea
"However, the Kanjikhowa Golf Course came into the spotlight when a nearby tea estate started plowing this course up with an intent to plant tea months ahead of the COVID-19 lockdown," Secretary of Upper Assam Golf Association (UAGA) Siddhatha Chaliha told PTI.
Stakeholders launched a campaign to save the heritage golf course
The locals and other stakeholders, including the UAGA, launched a campaign to save the heritage golf course, urging the government to intervene and ensure that its conversion is stopped. The then Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal directed the Dibrugarh Deputy Commissioner Pallav Kumar Jha to look into the matter and the latter stopped the ongoing work immediately imposing prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC.
Order was lifted recently following a meeting called by Jha
The prohibitory order from Kanjikhowa Golf Course was lifted recently following a meeting called by Jha on August 9. "During the meeting, it was unanimously decided that Kanjikhowa Golf Course will be preserved in its present form. A committee has been formed consisting of representatives of the UAGA, Kharjan tea estate, All Assam Tea Tribes Students' Association, and Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha," Jha said.
Committee will take steps to develop the golf course: Jha
"The committee will demarcate the boundary of the golf course, identify encroachment and take steps to develop the golf course," Jha further added. "We are happy with the decision taken at the meeting. The Kanjikhowa Golf Course is one of the oldest golf courses in India and we must keep its heritage alive," Chaliha said.
Golf course played key role during the Second World War
Kanjikhowa Golf Course was joined with the Panitola Sports Club in 1912, making it one of the oldest in the region, and it played a key role during the Second World War as allied forces built a temporary base camp near the golf link.