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Amritsar: Fiscal crisis hits Heritage Street, interpretation centre’s operations

To run both the projects, the administration requires Rs 45 lakh per month, of which around Rs 15 lakh is spent of electricity charges. Now PSPCL has also taken action against the non-payment of bills. 

punjab Updated: Sep 17, 2017 12:52 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Golden temple,Heritage street,Amritsar news
The staff of interpretation centre raising slogans during their protest against the state government outside the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Saturday.(Sameer Sehgal/HT)

The much-hyped Heritage Street project and multi-lingual high-tech multimedia interpretation centre outside the Golden Temple is in deep mess as no proper funding has been ensured by the state government.

The Rs 160-crore project was inaugurated by the then Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal amid much fanfare on October 25 last year. The project added to the beauty of the shrine and increased the footfall of tourists from across the world.

However, due to paucity of funds, the administration is now facing a tough time to manage the Heritage Street.

Same is the fate of the interpretation centre on which, the government spent Rs 50 crore. This too was formally inaugurated on the same date at the basement of the Golden Temple plaza. This was established to brief the visitors about the Sikh religion and its humanitarian philosophy through latest technological means such as laser images and 3-dimensional techniques. It has four galleries equipped with world-class interpretation appliances.

To run both the projects, the administration requires Rs 45 lakh per month, of which around Rs 15 lakh is spent of electricity charges. Now the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has also taken action against the non-payment of bills.

Amid such state of affairs, as many as 150 employees of the interpretation centre that is managed by the Amritsar Culture and Tourism Development authority, went on strike on Saturday and staged a dharna. They complained of not getting salaries for the past three months.

The strike left the centre non-operational and several devotees as well as tourists had to go back disappointed. Moreover, the protesters threatened to continue the stir if their demands were not met.

As per the data assessed by HT, so far, total 10 lakh visitors have taken a tour of the Sikh history and ethos in this centre and the footfall was seen increasing.

While speaking to HT, Tejinder Singh, project managing director, said the situation was not worse as being projected. He said salaries of the employees were delayed for few days only and the issue will be resolved soon.

Interestingly, this came after Sukhbir Badal, president of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), cornered Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu in a press conference held on Friday by saying, “It is shameful that Sidhu has ignored the ‘Guru Nagari’, which is also his home turf, and shattered all the projects executed by our government.”

First Published: Sep 17, 2017 12:37 IST