Construction of Jung-E-Azadi memorial makes tardy progress

  • Ravinder Vasudeva, Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
  • Updated: Jul 30, 2014 22:44 IST

Announced by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal in September 2011 while inaugurating a memorial of Badda Ghalughara at Kup Rahira in Sangrur district, the construction of Jang-E-Azadi memorial — dedicated to the contribution of Punjabis in freedom struggle — is going at a snail's pace thanks to the empty coffers of the Punjab government.

The `200-crore world-class memorial, in memory of the heroes of the freedom struggle from Punjab, is spread over 25 acre near Kartarpur town.
It was on August 9, 2012 when the concept committee of the project, including noted historians, academicians and intellectuals like Prof Kirpal Singh, DS Grewal, Punjabi University vice-chancellor Jaspal Singh, Prof Pirithpal Singh Kapoor, Dr Harish Sharma, Dr KL Tuteja and Dr Barjinder Singh Hamdard visited various places in the country to get the vital inputs for the conception of the memorial.
The Cellular Jail at Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands; Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad; Akshardham Temple at Gandhinagar in Gujarat, Teen Murti Bhawan and hi-tech museum showcasing significant aspects related to the freedom struggle in Parliament House in New Delhi were a few places where the committee members.

The state government has appointed IAS officer Vinay Bublani, Chairman of the Jalnadhar Improvement Trust, as a CEO of the project.
However, till now the only development is opening of a local site office for day-to-day monitoring has been finalised at PUDA Complex on the Ladowali Road.

The memorial is aimed at disseminating knowledge of rich cultural heritage of Punjab among youngsters. The site, which falls on the Jalandhar-Amritsar National Highway, has been carefully selected by the government, keeping in mind its easy accessibility to visitors and another attraction for the tourists visiting the Golden Temple.

Sources said the project had been in limbo, because the government did not have enough money to spend on memorial at present, as the government has already inaugurated Bhagwan Valmiki Memorial at Ram Tirath in Amritsar district.
But the project CEO rebuffed all reports, stating: "The project is time consuming, keeping in view its historical importance and vast knowledge exercise. But we have done all the ground work and are ready. The master technical consultant of the project has already submitted the conceptualised model of the memorial and the chief minister is expected to lay the foundation stone in 10-15 days," said Bublani.
Bublani claimed that ever since the project was launched not even a single day was wasted by the team.
Notably, the master technical consultant of the project 'Raj Riwal Associates', which has built a library at Parliament House, would oversee the project.

As per the proposal, out of total 25 acre, the main attraction of the project would be Minar-E-Shahiddan dedicated the Punjabis, who laid down their lives in the war for freedom. Few acre has been reserved for laser show and theatre, apart from having green cover area, kids corner and parking sites.
According to the chief minister, the memorial will be first of its kind in the country dedicated to the contribution of freedom fighters.

People speak

Such projects should be provided enough funding. The government should not delay the construction, as the memorial will bear a testimony of freedom struggle. The sincerity with which the memorial was announced was a welcome step, but there must be a deadline,"
Lt Col Manmohan Singh(retd)
Former district Sainik Welfare officer

Completing projects in time is something not known to us. Both bureaucrats and politicians in our country lack spirit. As far as this memorial is concerned, its conceptualisation is good. But it will be an honour to our freedom fighters if we complete the project in record time.
Major PK Mohla(retd), who has served in Indian Army for around 39 years.

Time should not be constraint for such projects. The project will showcase velour and dedication of our freedom fighters. Hence before laying the foundation stone, we need to think what the memorial should showcase for our next generations. It's not an ordinary memorial.
Prof Jaspal Singh,
Punjabi University vice-chancellor

Official quote:

Funds are not a constraint and the beginning of construction is just a matter of time. After finalisaing the concept model for the project, the construction is expected to start by middle of August. We have shortlisted five major firms for the construction and one of them will be handed over the project.

Vinay Bublani, CEO of the project

Time Line:
---Announced by CM in September 2011
--September 2012—land for the project is finalised an acquired in Kartarpur along the National Highway-1.
--April 29, 2013 concept committee for the project constituted
August 2016 the project deadline

The plan

The whole idea is to take visitors, especially the youth, to a virtual historical journey by portraying heroes of Punjab in the freedom struggle, starting from the First Sikh War led by Bhai Maharaj Singh in Multan in 1849 to the Independence and the Partition.
The memorial is being planned in such a way that it has several galleries to showcase history through statues, LED screens exhibiting documentaries, light and sound and laser shows. Galleries would depict various chapters of history, including Kuka Movement, awakening brought about by the Punjab Singh Sabha Movement, Arya Samaj, agrarian unrest of 1906-07, role of Madan Lal Dhingra and Lala Lajpat Rai, Ghadar Movement, Rowlatt Act and the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, rising of Udham Singh, Central Sikh League, Khalsa College, Gurdwara Rakab Ganj, Non-cooperation Movement, Akali movement and the Gurdwara Reform, Babbar Akalis, Revolutionary Movement, Bharat Naujawan Sabha and Bhagat Singh, Kirti Kisan and the Left movement, Praja Mandal, Civil Disobedience Movement, Quit India Movement, INA and Independence in 1947 to be finally concluded with Partition problems.

A replica of the historic Komagata Maru ship is likely to be put up with the visitors made to conceptualise the 1914 tragedy.

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