Even as the ground floor of the Golden Temple Plaza was inaugurated by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal in October last, the much ambitious basement work of the plaza continues to be a non-starter.
The project has missed several deadlines, but the basement area of the plaza is still on papers only and the construction work has not moved even an inch.
The ground floor of the plaza is decorated by while marble and fountains, and sitting arrangements have been made in the area outside the Golden Temple, however, the government had planned major works in the basement too to facilitate the tourists and pilgrims.
As per plans, the basement is supposed to have galleries, walk through area, display of Sikh history, VIP parking lot, conference room, waiting halls, cafe, lobby, VIP suites and other facilities for the pilgrims.
The project was launched in 2011, but only the ground floor has been completed thus far, whereas the basement area awaits execution.
Every time deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal visits Amritsar, he passes on instructions to the official concerned regarding the plaza. It is learnt that various changes in the basement design too have added to the delay.
Talking to Hindustan Times, PWD executive engineer JS Sodhi said, “The construction work in the basement is yet to kick off. The paper work is complete and the file has been sent to the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) for approval. Once approved, tendering will commence. We are hopeful that the approval will come soon.”
Claiming that around RS 80 crore is likely to be spent on the basement construction, Sodhi said, “There is also a proposal to have a 5-D theatre and other amenities.”
Notably, the ground floor project, which covers a big area outside the Golden Temple, and is decorated with white marble was completed last year at a cost of Rs 130 crore.
The government claims that the basement will be complete by Diwali, but taking into consideration the tardy process, it looks a Herculean task.
Project started in 2011
Ground floor completed in 2014
Basement a non-starter
Basement to have galleries, walk through area, facilities for pilgrims, Sikh history, 5-D theatre, parking, VIP suites, etc
Ground floor built at a cost of Rs 130 crore
Rs 80 crore (approx) to be spent on renovation of basement