Massive preparations are being made for the public rally to be held at Ram Tirath, the birthplace of Luv and Kush, sons of Rama, on the occasion of Valmiki Jayanti on Friday.
While the district administration is overseeing all arrangements for the rally, with officials of all departments, including some from Chandigarh, assigned duties, officials of the state public relations department reached here on Tuesday to oversee arrangements for the media and to oversee the setting up of stage and a huge pandal.
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, their ministerial colleagues and other senior Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including members of parliament, are expected to attend the rally. BJP chief Kamal Sharma is also expected to attend, though Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu will not be present.
At the rally site
The main rally site is spread over 10 acres. A large waterproof 'pandal' and fans have been set up, while several high-voltage generator sets have been put in place. Three stages have already come up at the site, including the main stage on which the CM, deputy CM and other important political leaders will sit, besides the important saints invited. One stage has been kept for the cultural troupes, and another for VIPs, including MLAs and other important leaders.
The function will commence with the chief minister and the saints laying the foundation stone of the Bhagwan Valmiki Tirath temple, to come up at an estimated cost of Rs. 115 crore.
Nine parking sites have been earmarked at various places for buses, trucks and other vehicles which will ferry the public.
Farmers' land taken over
The district administration has taken 'temporary custody' of around 170 acre for the rally and parking sites, handed over willingly by farmers in spite of crops sown, as they are being compensated handsomely, sources said.
According to officials, the land of nearly 70 farmers was taken over. For the fields where the paddy crop stood, the farmer was paid `50,000 an acre, and `40,000 an acre for the other crops.
Tractors ploughed the standing crop in the fields and bulldozers leveled the fields, with MLAs directing to ensure gathering.
Each ruling alliance MLA has been allotted 50 buses to ferry the public from their respective constituencies to Ram Tirath. Similar directions have been given to the 'halqa in-charges' of constituencies not with the alliance.
To ensure that there will be no traffic jams, those from the the Malwa belt, including Patiala, will reach via Moga, Harike and Tarn Taran. Those from Ludhiana, Roopnagar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Nawanshahar will take the NH-I route, while those from Hoshiarpur will reach via Sri Hargobindpur or via Gurdaspur. Instructions have been sent out to toll plazas not to halt vehicles en route to Ram Tirath, officials said.
Food and accommodation
The government is expecting a crowd of over two lakh at the rally.
Official sources said that 30 marriage palaces have been booked in Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts to accommodate people coming on Thursday evening. If people from far-off places get late on Friday, they can stay at these palaces for the night.
Arrangements have been made to feed 50,000 in these marriage palaces and at the rally site.