North Gazette News/New Delhi
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday sought Central assistance for upcoming heritage, tourism projects across the state.
After a meeting with Minister for State, Tourism and Culture (Independent Charge) Mahesh Sharma, Badal urged him to grant Rs 275 crore as special financial assistance for the upcoming iconic heritage and tourism projects across the state.
The Chief Minister envisaged special allocation of funds for its ongoing tourism and cultural heritage projects as the state had made remarkable progress in showcasing the glorious cultural heritage not only at national, but at international level also.
He said that this allocation would encourage the state in making more such endeavors.
Apprising Sharma about the efforts being made by the state government to preserve and highlight the rich cultural heritage of the state, the Chief Minister said that the state government has constructed state of the art Virasat-e-Khalsa Memorial at Sri Anandpur Sahib, which was daily visited by nearly 10000 visitors.
Badal apprised the Union Minister that the project cost of this Memorial has escalated to Rs 327 crore from original Rs 224 crore adding that the Union government had promised to give one third cost of the project i.e. Rs 75 crores to the state out of which Rs 25 crore was still pending. He said that in view of increase in the cost it must be enhanced to Rs 35 crore.
Likewise, he also apprised the Union Minister about the state-of-the-art Museum cum Panorama center coming up at Shri Valmiki Tirath in Amritsar, where Bhagwan Valmiki ji had created the great epic and masterpiece Ramayana.
Badal said that the total cost of this prestigious project was Rs 182 crore out of which Rs 70 crore has already been spent by the state government. He sought a onetime special grant worth Rs 70 crore from the Union government to accomplish this project of immense historical significance.
Dwelling on another issue, the Chief Minister also informed Sharma that in order to showcase the supreme sacrifices made by the Punjabis in the national freedom struggle, the state government was coming up with Jang-e-Azaadi memorial at Kartapur near Jalandhar. He said that the total cost of this project was Rs 200 crore adding that the Union government must grant special assistance of Rs 100 crore to complete this project.
Likewise, the Chief Minister also informed Dr Sharma about the War Heroes Museum being constructed by the state government in Amritsar to highlight the sacrifices made by the Punjabis in Armed forces and showcase the gallantry spirit of Punjab. Seeking a special assistance of Rs 50 crore for this project coming up at a cost of Rs 100 crore, Badal apprised the Union Minister that the state government has already spent Rs 23 crore on this project.
Lauding the efforts being made by the state government to acquaint the younger generations about their glorious history, the Union Minister assured Badal of fulsome support and cooperation for developing Punjab as a major tourist destination across the globe.
Highly impressed with the initiatives taken by the state government, Dr. Sharma agreed to release a grant of Rs 55 crore out of which Rs 30 crore would be spent on War Heroes Museum and Rs 25 crore for the Virasat-e-Khalsa Memorial.
The Union Minister also assured Badal that he would strongly recommend the case for central grant to the upcoming Jang-e-Azaadi memorial and send the detailed project to the Finance Ministry for seeking special funds for its construction.
Apart from this he also informed Mr. Badal that the Ministry has selected Amritsar out of 12 religious countries across the country for special grant of Rs 10 crore under its PARSAD scheme meant for augmentation and development of pilgrimage towns.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by his Advisor on National Affairs and Media Mr. Harcharan Bains and Principal Secretary SK Sandhu.