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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Holy city in for makeover

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, October 11, 2012
First Published: 19:41 IST(11/10/2012) | Last Updated: 19:43 IST(11/10/2012)

Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday approved Rs. 2,951-crore projects for the holy city and its periphery towns. Saying that Amritsar is all set to get a new look, he stressed that the state government had already requisitioned the services of an international expert town planner to draw the blueprint of development of the holy city, while maintaining its heritage look and character.

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He said the purpose of the exercise was to put Amritsar on the international tourist circuit and to prolong the stay of international tourists from existing one night to minimum six nights. He said his plan included a religious-cum-historic tourist circuit, including the visit to the retreat ceremony at the Attari border, Goindwal, Tarn Taran, Khadoor Sahib, Gobindgarh Fort, Harmandar Sahib, Durgiana Mandir, Jallianwala Bagh and Ram Tirath. He said this could be possible only if the government upgraded the infrastructure of the holy city to international level and tourists feel at home while roaming in the city.

Sukhbir added that the plan envisioned an entertainment hub at the Attari border with a food court, historical exhibition ground, besides light and sound and laser show on the pattern of Singapore.

Reviewing the development works, Badal said he had already approved Rs. 8,745 crore urban development projects for 142 towns and Amritsar would be the first city to taste the fruits of integrated development. He said according to the development model all urban services including sewerage, water supply, internal road networks, road engineering, beautification of parks, greening of pavements, streetlights would be developed and maintained by a single agency and that agency would be responsible for its upkeep for next 10 years.

He also reviewed the implementation of pod project and asked the tourism department to open tourist facilitation kiosks at important points and depute guides who have knowledge of English, French and Spanish. He also asked the tourism department to promote Amritsar cuisine at international fora. He said the development and promotion of the upcoming heritage village would be handed over to a professional tourism agency having experience in running such establishments.

Sukhbir's vision
To put Amritsar on international tourist circuit,
To develop religious-cum-historic tourist circuit to prolong international tourists' stay
To open tourist facilitation kiosks at important points
To upgrade infrastructure of the holy city to international level
to promote Amritsar cuisine at international fora
Entertainment hub at Attari border with food court, historical exhibition ground
Maintenance of all urban services, including sewerage, water supply, by single agency, which would be responsible for upkeep for next 10 years

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