Constructed by the Punjab tourism department to enhance and promote tourism in Kapurthala, Kanjli Wetland Tourist Centre is lying abandoned since its construction. The foundation stone for the `62 lakh project was laid by former tourism minister, Jagmohan Singh Kang, in October 2006 to make it a tourist destination in view of its historic importance.
As per the plan, the centre was to have a restaurant, shopping complex, guest house, kitchen, pantry and open lawns. After completion, the centre had to run under the public private partnership (PPP) mode.
Punjab tourism department had allotted the construction work to the Public Works Department (PWD) who had completed the construction of this project within the given time period of six-seven months by spending Rs 40 lakh.
The tourist centre, spread over four acres of land, has now turned into a shelter for drug addicts. The building is lying in a dilapidated condition with broken tiles. The hardware from the washrooms has been stolen and the glasses on the windows are cracked.
Executive engineer of PWD, Varinder Kumar, said authorities had completed the construction on time but electricity connections and furniture and other equipments for the restaurant were still pending.
Kanjli wetland, a well-maintained picnic spot till 2004 with a boating point and parks where people came for evening walks, has become a victim of government apathy.The rivulet is full of algae, hyacinth and dirt which disturb the flow of water in the wetland. No caretaker has been deputed for the maintenance.
Director of Punjab tourism department Navjotpal Singh Randhawa said the centre was made to enhance tourism and attract public. "We have given an advertisement in the newspapers a number of times to give this centre on lease under private public partnership but nobody has shown any interest in hiring it because of the few visitors in the area," he said.
Kapurthala MLA, Rana Gurjit, blamed the government for negligence towards developing the heritage city. He said, "Nobody from the tourism department has visited the centre to check the quality of work done by the contractors and how much money has actually been spent on the building." Demanding proper inquiry, Rana said despite spending crores on the wetland, the government had failed to attract tourists.