The plight of the floating restaurant at Sirhind on the Delhi- Amritsar national highway is changing day by day as it was learnt that the Punjab government had not given any attention towards its condition for the last many years. Moreover, no repair work had been carried out to maintain the historical floating restaurant. Interestingly, the restaurant has facility of eight rooms to accommodate the visitors which were too in bad condition and thus have not been in working condition.
A visit to the floating restaurant depicted a story of sorry state as the building lying on the floating was not maintained as broken refrigerator lying in the restaurant was seen welcoming the guests.
Similarly, a part of the restaurant had been set up on the steel tubes floating in the waters of Bhakra canal and strong steel wires make the restaurant stationary. However the passage of these tubes had been weakened by the rust as these always remain under the water. The roof of the floating restaurant, made of steel sheets, was also affected with rust as these have not been painted and during light drizzle these start leaking. This could lead to any unfortunate incident as the department had failed to paint these tubes for the last many years.
However, an employee of the restaurant on the condition of anonymity said that the recently constructed fly over in front of the restaurant had been the major reason to reduce its craze but still he noticed that because of historical importance, the tourists not only from the country but also from across the world visited the floating restaurant. He said that the foundation stone was laid by former chief minister Giani Zail Singh on July 22, 1976.
He said that the Indian government has made arrangements for the passengers travelling in international bus services running between the Delhi and Lahore in Pakistan. The Delhi-Lahore bus stops here daily during morning and evening hours so that the passengers could take breakfast or lunch.
He said that the restaurant was earlier under the control of Punjab Tourism Corporation but was later handed over to the Punjab Heritage Tourism Promotion Board.
He further added that the estimates of the renovation to be carried out have already been sent to the higher authorities many times.He said that it was learnt that an agreement was about to be signed for renovation and to be run by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) in collaboration with the Punjab government.
However, Director, Tourism and cultural affairs, Chandigarh Navjot Singh Randhawa said that the agreement between the Punjab government and IRCTC was not matured because of some technical reasons and now the tourism department decided to review the project to renovate it.On the other hand, Punjab Tourism Minister, Sohan Singh Thandal said that they had decided to review the whole project but first they were reviewing all the aspects as a big fly over was constructed in front of the floating and height of the fly over is also creating hindrance in giving the proper visibility of the floating to the visitors.