GUWAHATI: The state government has once again turned down assistance from the Unesco for preparing a nomination dossier for the inclusion of Majuli in the Unesco world heritage site list. It has mentioned conflict of interest as reason for not accepting the proposal. The government wants to prepare the dossier on its own. 

In this regard, the government has invited expression of interest (EoI) from among stakeholders to act as consultants. The deadline for submission of EoI is May 8. 

Sources in the state cultural affairs department told TOI on Wednesday that in 2013, the then director of Unesco and representative, Shigeru Aoyagi, had proposed through a letter to chief minister Tarun Gogoi that the state government sign a memorandum of understanding for developing a policy, strategy and providing assistance for the nomination of Majuli as a World Cultural Heritage. 

"The Unesco will not prepare the nomination dossier as a conflict of interest could arise because Unesco will approve the dossier but will not get involved directly. The proposed MoU was meant to serve a limited purpose. That was in the past. Now we are focusing on hiring consultants and not signing a MoU," said a senior official from the cultural affairs department. 

The Unesco, however, pursued the case through three letters to the state government even after the BJP government took over. "We will look into the prospects of a MoU as and when the need arises. The MoU won't serve the purpose of nomination. Let us get engaged with the consultants," added the official.