Press Trust of India
Patna: From widening the streets to sprucing up Ganga riverfront, Patna city and the iconic Sikh shrine nestled in its womb are undergoing a massive facelift as a large number of pilgrims are expected here during the 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh.
As people from several parts of India and abroad, including from Canada, the UK, the US and Australia, are expected to converge here, a temporary tent city spanning over 75 acres has been proposed to be set up on the banks of Ganga.
“The countdown has begun and timelines have been defined. All projects would be completed in a time-bound manner. Inter-departmental conflicts have been resolved and eight committees
and sub-committees have been set up to smoothly execute the
big plan,” said Patna divisional commissioner Anand Kishor.
Meanwhile, the Patna Sahib shrine is racing against time to finish the new constructions on its premises. Old streets like Guru Gobind Singh Path are being widened and new roads are being constructed in the old Patna city, which has narrow lanes and alleys. Ganga ghats in the city are also being redeveloped.
Gurdwara gets a facelift
Guru Gobind Singh was born in Patna in 1666 to Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru, and Mata Gujri. The current shrine of Patna Sahib, signifying his birth, was built in the 1950s over the remains of the structure erected by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the late 1830s, which was damaged in the deadly 1934 earthquake.
The gurudwara management committee is also undertaking huge constructions on its campus, as most of the old guest house complex has been dismantled and a new structure is coming up in its place, which will include provisions for parking of vehicles that are expected in huge numbers in January. New structures have also come up on the campus surrounding Gurdwara Bal Leela, where young Guru Gobind Singh used to play. A multi-storeyed building has been completed in its adjoining campus replacing the old building that once served as a warehouse.
Anand Kishor said he has been holding regular meetings with all stakeholders, including the district magistrate, Patna police, tourism department and railway officials to chalk out “both short-term and long-term measures” to make the event a “grand success.”
“All police officials including the senior superintendent of police have been briefed to ensure foolproof security. We will be installing 200 closed-circuit television cameras to monitor the situation,” Kishor said.
Bihar govt plans to tap tourism potential
The Bihar government is also looking to tap the immense tourism potential of this mega event and had earlier even hired Delhi-based Indian National Trust for Art and Culture (INTACH) to prepare a micro-plan for tourism-related assessment of Patna Sahib area.
“We had made a study of the area, which is the old region of Patna, with layers of several centuries of history and heritage. The area has winding lanes and narrow roads, including the main road, the Ashok Raj Path, that goes in front of the shrine and therefore had suggested a few measures to decongest the area,” said a senior INTACH official said.