Unveiling his vision document for Amritsar - which he termed "one of the most charming cities in India"- BJP candidate on Wednesday said the city was important from religious and historical point of view, but needed a strong and improved infrastructure that was hitherto missing.
Jaitley also recounted his relationship with the holy city as a visitor since his childhood days to his grandparents' home and later as a political campaigner.
A charming city
The BJP candidate stressed on the need to preserve important historical sites and augmenting gardens. Updating his status on Facebook on Wednesday, Jaitley posted, "I have campaigned for over two weeks in Amritsar. It is unquestionably one of the most charming cities in India. My past experience of Amritsar has been as a visitor to my grandparents' home. My subsequent experience has been as a political campaigner, who was in charge of the party campaign in various Lok Sabha and assembly elections when I was headquartered at Amritsar."
Having religious and historical importance
"It is a historical city founded in the 16th century. The city has a great religious significance. Sri Harmandir Sahib gives the city an international importance. Durgiana Mandir, Jallianwala Bagh, Ram Tirath, Attari border and Gobind Garh Fort have religion, culture and history written all over,"said Jaitley.
Conservation of heritage sites
The senior BJP leader maintained that the heritage sites of the city needed to be preserved and strengthened. "Several old buildings such as Khalsa College need to be projected at the national level as a symbol of high quality education,"he said.
Preserving green lungs
Talking about the gardens in the city, he says some of the gardens have been improved substantially, but need to be expanded further. "The greenery can add to the city's environment,"he wrote. Amritsar, according to Jaitley, represents the soft power of the state -a religious, historical and trading centre.
Immense tourism potential
"It has a huge ability to attract people. Tourism will always remain a mainstay economic activity in the city,"he said, adding that he visualise an Amritsar that is connected on all sides by large highways - a city where the internal infrastructure needs to be hugely improved and basic amenities need to be provided to every sections.
Water supply, sewerage and good roads a distant dream
"There are large sections that still require water connectivity, sewage and proper streets. Projects under implementation need to be monitored and expedited. Several flyovers and elevated roads need to be built and overhauled. They need to be strengthened and expanded significantly,"he wrote.
Creation of a textile cluster
Stating that the economy of Amritsar primarily depends on tourism, industry and trade, Jaitley says the main industrial activity has to be centred around the creation of a textile cluster, the agricultural tools industry, rice mills, embroidery, jewellery, decorative items and footwear. "These clusters need to be supported by the state. The Centre has a scheme for adding to the infrastructure of the clusters,"he maintained.
Talking about the cross-border trade, Jaitley said the infrastructure for opening up of the cross-border trade had been established. "A last push is required to be given to the town to the expansion of the official cross-border trade between India and Pakistan. Industrial activity always depends on manufacturing environment in the country and our ability with regard to low-cost manufacturing. Tourism and trade, including outland trade, have a singular ability to revive and strengthen the economy of Amritsar,"reads his FB post.
Need to strengthen tourism and medical infrastructure
He opines that for tourism to be strengthened, the road, rail and air links to the city have to be improved. Direct international flights are the need of the hour. A good airport needs to be better connected. "The social infrastructure of Amritsar requires multiple categories of healthcare - both public and private. The promise of establishing an AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) in every state has to be materialised. Amritsar with a legacy of medical colleges could be an ideal location for AIIMS,"he averred.
Expansion of industrial corridor
According to Jaitley, the expansion of the industrial corridor to Amritsar can add to the spurt in economic activity in the city. "This should be accompanied by creation of suburban townships,"he said.
Being fond of famous Amritsari cuisine, he mentions on his FB, "The food of Amritsar is an essential part of its soft power. Establishment of food streets and a food village, which opens late in the evening can add to the charm of the city. A 'no traffic walkway' food street or food village where traditional items of Punjab are sold can be a great tourist attraction. It can reflect the personality of Amritsar."