Some ray of hope has emerged for the partially completed Punjab State War Heroes Memorial and Museum (PSWHMM) as tourists now have access to six out of nine galleries here. However, out of these six, only five are fully operational while others are in process.
The galleries that have been opened are 1,2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 is witnessing footfall.
During a visit to the place on Thursday, gallery number one appeared to be half complete while construction of the rest is going on in a slow pace.
The site opens at 10 am for the public.
The place is divided into three buildings, one is the museum and other two cater to galleries.
Interestingly, the incomplete memorial-cum-museum has had an increasing number of tourists with time. Harnider Kaur in-charge-cum-guide at the site said, “Maximum galleries were thrown open for the public in mid January and since then, the footfall has increased.
During holidays, it touches around 5,000 while on weekends and even off season, we cater to around 1,500- 2,000 people daily.”
The site was inaugurated by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on October 23.
General manager of the PSWHMM Lt Col H P Singh told Hindustan Times that the first and second phase galleries have been opened and only the third phase is left in which gallery number 4, 8 and 9 would be opened.
Even the bunker-shaped cafeteria is locked for now as they are looking for someone to fill the tender.
Captain Prem Chand who was supervising in general manager’s absence said, “The work has not stopped, it is going on but due to demonetisation and elections, the pace of work slowed down. We are hopeful that within six months, we will make the site fully operational.”
FEATURES OF THE GALLERIES
The galleries portray texts as well as audio-visual systems, along with seven guides (four girls and three boys) who communicate with tourists in English, Punjabi and Hindi.
Also, gallery 7 would take the people to the third Indo-Pak War 1971 while gallery number 2 highlights the ‘Miri Piri’ concept of sixth Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind also the sacrifice of Guru Teg Bahadur to protect the Kashmiri Pandits. In gallery number 3, the Sikh empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh is depicted along with Anglo-Sikh wars with the British and the heroism of General Hari Singh Nalwa.
In gallery number 6, Sino-Indian War of 1962 along with the Indo-Pak war of 1965 is narrated.