SGPC plans to raze Guru Ram Das serai
This is the only serai of the Golden Temple which provides accommodation to devotee free of cost. So, this serai caters to the ordinary devotees, who cannot afford to book paid rooms in other serais. It has a huge courtyard, which is also used to accommodate the sangat when all the rooms are booked.punjab Updated: Apr 24, 2018 14:34 IST
Around two years after it stopped going ahead with its plan to demolish the oldest ‘Guru Ram Das Serai’ in the Golden Temple and build a new one in its place, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has again decided to revive the 2016 plan. The decision to revive the plan was reportedly taken at the SGPC’s executive meeting held at Takht Sri Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda on April 20.
In June 2016, the SGPC, during the tenure of former president Avtar Singh Makkar , had proposed to rebuild the serai, which was constructed in 1935 under kar sewa (voluntarily service). However, after Sikh bodies, especially the Sikh Sadhbhawna Dal, led by former Golden Temple gurbani exponent Bhai Baldev Singh Wadala, showed resentment and held a protest outside the SGPC office against the move, the SGPC decided to drop the plan.
Confirming the move, the SGPC’s spokesperson Diljit Singh Bedi said the serai is too old and its condition has deteriorated. “In such a situation, rebuilding of the sarai is the need of the hour. The blueprint of the plan is already underway,” he said. He said the move is relevant in vie of the security of the devotees, whose number is increasing day by day.
Officials of the building department of the SGPC said that the 83-year-old serai, spread over the around 45,000 square feet area, has 250 rooms. However, around 100 rooms are being used be the SGPC as stores and a few for administrative purpose.
This is the only serai of the Golden Temple which provides accommodation to devotee free of cost. So, this serai caters to the ordinary devotees, who cannot afford to book paid rooms in other serais. It has a huge courtyard, which is also used to accommodate the sangat when all the rooms are booked.
A small home for foreign visitors is also located inside the serai. Basically, this is a separate section comprising a few rooms and a hall where accommodation is provided to only foreign visitors.
Wadala sees a conspiracy
On the other hand, Wadala, who had lodged a strong protest against the plan in 2016, termed it a conspiracy to destroy the serai, which, he says, has great historical importance. He said the sangat constructed it under kar sewa and even Ghadri Babe (Sikh freedom fighters associated with the Ghadar movement) used to stay here.
He said the SGPC has a large chunk of land behind the Akal Takht Sahib to construct more serais.
Bedi, however, said the sarai has no historical importance. The building department officials said that the capacity of the serai is very less and on this area a serai, with much more three-time accommodation capacity can be built