The Amritsar Municipal Corporation on Wednesday gave its consent to development projects worth crores of rupees, including the Helium Balloon project proposed for the Gol Bagh area, besides imposition of hospitality tax on hotels in the city.
Expressing his resentment against the proposal for imposing tax on hotels in the name of 'city beautification fund', Congress councillor Gurinder Singh Rishi boycotted the house meet.
Discussing the proposed helium balloon project, mayor Bakshi Ram Arora, said, "The balloon can fly up to a height of 120-metres. It can accommodate 30 people at a time." "The project worth `10 crore will operate on the Public Private Partnership mode," he said.
The mayor said there was another proposal to spend `50 crore to beautify the façade of the Golden Temple by upgrading buildings in its vicinity.
"This expenditure will be incurred by the Punjab Heritage and Tourism Board," he added.
The mayor said as many as 150 buses were being purchased for the proposed city bus service, which would become operational from January 1, 2014.
"The MC has given its nod to contributing `14 crore for the project," Arora maintained. The civic body also gave its approval to the imposition of tax on hotels for the collection of funds under the 'city beautification fund' amidst opposition by Congress councillor Gurinder Singh Rishi, who boycotted the meeting.
Rishi said, "The tax on hotels will have an adverse impact on tourism." "To charge `150 to `200 from tourists is not a right practice. A majority of them will stop including Amritsar in their itinerary during their visit to Punjab," he said. "As the members were unable to understand the gravity of the situation, I decided to boycott the meeting," said Rishi.
The house approved the proposal to take over the historic Company Gardens for its maintenance. The meeting also approved the construction of a corridor to facilitate the proposed Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), which is likely to cost around `500 crore.
Besides this, the installation of 94,470-metre-long optical fibre cable and cameras in different areas by Reliance Geo Infocom Limited was also approved.