State tourism minister Swaran Singh Phillaur tried to sell old wine in a new bottle to hoteliers on Friday on his visit to Bathinda.
The meeting was part of an ongoing campaign to prepare the hotel owner for the implementation of the new tourism department Act. The minister tried to sell the entrepreneur the faded dream of the city as a tourism hub.
The reality is that his department has not even mentioned Bathinda in the literature published recently for promoting tourism in Punjab. The Bathinda tourism information centre was planned in 2010, and the Centre arranged the money, yet the facility remains non-existent.
The Deer Safari project has been delayed for one or the other, and most part of the city's only historical fort is closed to visitors. The structure requires money for renovation. The Centre is not convinced for direct rail link to Takht Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo.
Asked about the deadline for any of these projects, he said: "Very soon." The boating facility in one of the lakes of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Power Plant, which the minister claimed was his "department's biggest gift" to the city, is run by a private entrepreneur.
Even without a fresh idea, he kept on making rambling statements about a tourism policy in the works. The meeting with the hoteliers was inconclusive, as they didn't accept the new law.
Chief parliamentary secretary Saroop Chand Singla and Akali leader Om Parkash Sharma were present.