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HindustanTimes Sun,26 Oct 2014

MHA sanctions new viewers’ gallery at Attari border

Aseem Bassi, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, October 16, 2013
First Published: 09:56 IST(16/10/2013) | Last Updated: 13:38 IST(16/10/2013)

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) has sanctioned a new viewers’ gallery to be built at the Attari border where thousands of tourists gather each evening to watch the Retreat ceremony.

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Since the ceremony at the Indo-Pakisatn border at Attari became a major attraction for tourists the world over, it was felt that there was a lack of space and facilities for tourists.

Though many a time the BSF and the state government had talked about the expansion, it could not be brought about.

Talking to HT, a BSF spokesperson said, “The MHA has given the formal sanction to the project. Rs. 23.98 crore has been sanctioned for the project that will come up in around two years.”

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/10/Retreat.jpg

Giving details, he said, “It will have a conference hall, a dining hall, public facilities, a medical inspection room, better landscaping besides other features.”

Since the existing gallery lacks space and one can see tourists struggling for space, the new gallery is likely to accommodate around 15,000 people. Currently, the gallery can hold about 7,000 people and on weekends it becomes tough for the BSF to organise the ceremony.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/10/RC.jpg

Already, the authorities have worked on various designs. Apart from having a new outer gate, the gallery will be constructed in a semi-circular shape so that tourists can get a better view of the ceremony.

Talking to HT, BSF DIG MF Farooqui said, “Since the ceremony has acquired great attention over the years, it is an important project. Apart from providing best of facilities to the tourists, the major thrust will be on the security aspect and the evacuation plan in case of an emergency.”

“The ceremony area is a soft target, so we will keep in mind the best security plan while finalising the designs. Also, the evacuation of tourists will be given a lot of importance in case of an emergency,” he added.

The gallery will have such a seating plan that the spectators can have a a better view.

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