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For Punjab, if not Bush, Charles will do

A team of British officials and security personnel was in Punjab recently to work out plans for the Prince's visit.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 12:21 IST

Punjab might have missed its date with US President George W Bush owing to a trivial anomaly - inadequate runway length for his massive Air Force One Boeing jet - but the state is not giving up its efforts to host a celebrity.

A US headquartered MNC - Field Fresh Foods Ltd, a subsidiary of Sunil Mittal's Bharti Telecom - had made efforts to bring Bush during his March 1-3 stay in India to the company's 300-acre model farm in Laddowal village, 15 km from Ludhiana.

The farm produces tonnes of vegetables and fruits that are airlifted to markets across North America and Europe.

But with Punjab off the itinerary of the world's most powerful political leader, the prosperous northern state is already looking to host another important international figure - Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne.

But 'agrinomics' is not the motive behind Charles' visit. The future king of Britain has on his agenda a visit to Sri Keshgarh Sahib - popularly known as Gurdwara Anandpur Sahib - 80 km from here.

According to senior Punjab police officials, a team of British officials and security personnel was in Punjab recently to work out plans for Charles' visit. The details are likely to be finalised over the next week.

Anandpur Sahib is the second most important Sikh religious place after the Golden Temple in Amritsar as it was here that the 'Khalsa' or the Sikh faith was founded on April 13, 1699, when the tenth Sikh guru - Gobind Singh - baptized the first five Sikhs.

Charles, who has been involved in activities of Sikhs and Punjabis living in Britain, has indicated that he wanted to visit the shrine.

The prince may also tour some farms engaged in organic farming. Charles is an advocate of organic food and also has business interests in organic farms in Britain.

Charles may also stopover at the erstwhile princely city of Patiala. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who hails from the erstwhile princely family of Patiala, may host Charles for dinner and an overnight stay at his new Moti Bagh palace.

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 10:36 IST