The project aimed at improving the infrastructure on the main approach road to the Golden Temple for lessening the inconvenience to pilgrims, which was announced by Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in May this year, finally kicked off on Thursday here.
The Rs 82-crore project aims to widen roads and pedestrian pathways with a total revamp of about 500 metres stretch from the Fountain Chowk to Golden Temple. Also, the stretch will be demarcated as a no-vehicle zone.
A statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh with a fountain and a statue of BR Ambedkar are also proposed to be built while a monument of the Amar Jawan Jyoti (flame of the immortal soldier) measuring around 16 feet will be installed outside the Jallianwala Bagh.
At present, the entire stretch is riddled with encroachments and witnesses complete chaos during rush hours. The project will bring a huge relief if it is successfully completed.
Talking to HT, public works department executive engineer (XEN) JS Sodhi said, “The work on this project has begun and we intend to complete it by July, 2016. Apart from widening the roads, we will construct pedestrian pathways for the pilgrims and local residents. The entire stretch from the Fountain Chowk to Golden Temple will be beautified. A light and sound system will also be installed and the project will completely change the look of the stretch.”
Other than this Rs 82-crore project, we will also spend Rs 52-crore to lay cables underground, Sodhi added.
Notably, deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal had announced the project in May this year and had said the approach road to the Golden Temple will become the “most beautiful street”.
While making the announcement, Sukhbir had also announced the installation of statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh with a fountain.
“The fountain will showcase cascading waterfall effect, a computerised project with animations. This will be complimented by beautification of the earmarked stretch,” Sukhbir had said.
The pathways will be beautifully illuminated and kiosks displaying information like weather update for tourists and residents will also be put up. Electronic road signs will also be installed.
A food court is also proposed to be developed opposite the Dharm Singh market.
Although the Golden Temple attracts lakhs of pilgrims every day but the approach road is not in a good shape at present as the area is very congested. Apart from encroachments and traffic chaos, another major eyesore is poor civic conditions in the area. Local residents and councillors raised the issue of need for improvement of infrastructure on the stretch many times in the past. The project is being seen as a breather, and is expected to bring much-needed relief.