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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

'Heritage Walk' turns into a flop show

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Patiala, September 27, 2013
First Published: 22:16 IST(27/9/2013) | Last Updated: 22:16 IST(27/9/2013)

The state government's initiative to bring Patiala back into the tourist map turned into a flop show on World Tourism Day celebration in the city on Friday.

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The first edition of much-hyped 'Heritage Walk' to boost the tourism industry of the Royal City witnessed nothing but chaos, mismanagement and dearth of tourists.

Handful of people including tourism minister Swaran Singh Phillaur, minister of rural development and panchayat Surjit Singh Rakhra, principal secretary of cultural affairs Geetika Kalha, along with district administration and tourism officials wrapped up the one-hour walk in just 15 minutes hardly giving any effort to meet the objective of the event.

Following the footsteps of Amritsar and other tourist destinations across India, the state government had decided to hold 'Heritage Walk' to uplift the rusty tourism business of Patiala. The walk was open to all and started from Shahi Samadhan (royal mausoleum), the burial site of Patiala royals, and ended at Qila Mubarak.

Tourist spots like Pammi Purian wala, Haveliwala Mohalla, Chhatta Nanumal, Bartan Bazaar, Darshini Deori were visited hurriedly by the organisers.

A specialist guide, who was roped in from Amritsar, was not even allowed to speak of the historical significance of the places, and even mic was snatched from him by the officials when he tried to explain a few points. Rather ministers and officials were seen discussing political agendas at the event.

Some locals approached Rakhra with problems of scarcity of water and stray animals in their area when he was passing through the locality. Policemen were seen making way for the ministers.

However, tourism minister said `30 crore under 13th finance commission has been sanctioned for restoration of Qila Mubarak.

He added that to restore the fort, architects had been hired to prepare a report within six months and contractors would be hired accordingly.

"After a year some parts of the fort will be opened for tourists,"he said.

No green cabs, which was supposed to take the tourists to their destinations after the walk as per the organisers' announcement, was seen at the venue when the event finished. Even the poster which was displayed at the founding stone of heritage walk was removed as soon as the officials left.

However, the ministers and officials are still keeping their fingers crossed over the success of this event.

"Hopefully, the event will taste success gradually through its next editions,"said an official.

'Heritage Walk' will held from Friday to Sunday from 9am-10am, every week, from now on, said an organiser.

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