Martyr museum project stalled again in Punjab’s SBS Nagar owing to lack of funds
At a time when the state government is unveiling major projects daily expecting declaration of assembly poll schedule anytime to bring the model code of conduct into force but apparently it forget to take any notice of the museum project dedicated to Shaheed Bhagat Singh at his native village, Khatkar Kalan, in the district. The work for the said project is lying stalled second time in this year.
The first time work stopped in March this year but just few days before Martyrdom Day on March 23 the administration intervened after which workers reached back at a construction site. The work continued for around two months as per the sources. The executive agency for building the museum, Markfed, has been waiting for funds worth one crore from past four months to complete the building museum . The agency had even approached higher authorities many times but to no avail.
In the same village on December 21, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had claimed to initiate the four- laning of the Ropar- Phagwara road worth ₹ 1,500 crore but he also failed to make any mention of this project. In the absence of any help from the higher authorities, several new air-conditioners, electric gadgets, and power generator are turning into rust inside the building, leading to wastage of public money.
The open space outside the building has become a garbage dumping ground. The entrance gate has been locked and construction material is lying around .
When contacted, executive engineer, Markfed, Shiv Charan Kumar said, “We have talked to higher officials to release the funds and sent reminder but money is yet to reach. Work has been delayed because of lack of funds.” he added. He added that museum work will be accomplished only after the work regarding exhibits of martyrs, light and sound will be done by the department of tourism and cultural affairs. Director tourism, cultural and affairs Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa was unavailable for the comments.
Former Union home minister P Chidambaram had laid the foundation stone of the project on February 23, 2009 in the presence of the then Union minister for tourism and culture Ambika Soni and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
The museum was envisioned as a memorial to Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru, and more than 9,000 martyrs from Punjab who sacrificed their lives in the Indian freedom struggle. As per the project, the existing building of the old museum was planned to be dismantled after the construction of the new building. For extension of the new museum, around 85 kanals of land were also acquired. The new structure will house the new museum, photo galleries, and an auditorium. The protracted delay had already increased the total cost of the museum from ₹ 8.45 crore to ₹ 17 crore.