In view of the increasing footfall of devotees and tourists at the Golden Temple, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has resolved to replace the nearby Akali market with a big complex that would have multi-storey building for sarai (inn), parking, market and residential flats.
Spread on five acres, the market is owned by the apex gurdwara body. Besides shops and workshops, small residential flats and Bhai Mati Dass Park are presently situated on the premises. On its entry, a heritage structure in the form of a gate is also situated. It is behind Akal Takht Sahib.
However, the condition of the market is such that roads here are uneven and heaps of garbage can be seen at places. Besides, the drains are left open. This state continues despite its proximity with the holiest Sikh shrine, for which the state government claims that it did a lot to provide a facelift to its surrounding area.
The matter of establishing such a structure here has already been under consideration, but did not take shape. “Finally, led by SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badunger, an executive panel has approved the proposal during a meeting,” said SGPC secretary Roop Singh and Golden Temple manager Sulakhan Singh while speaking to HT.
Roop Singh said after the approval, the blue print including map and design is being made by experts in Chandigarh and the shops will be reconstructed as per new design. “As footfall is increasing day by day, it is the need of hour to establish such a structure to give better facilities to the devotees and prevent inconvenience,” he added.
Apart from this, the SGPC officials said proposal of setting up another sarai on Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib road and parking near Burj Akali Phoola Singh has also been approved by the executive panel. “For this, a portion of land near Chatiwind Gate, which is in the name of Gurdwara Satlani Sahib, is being transferred to the Golden Temple,” they said.
As per this proposal, Trai-Shatabadi College, Guru Ramdas Senior Secondary School and Guru Nanak Kanya Senior Secondary Schools, situated on the land chosen for sarai will be shifted to the land near Chatiwind Gate.