Punjab is all set to give a makeover to 30 places across the State to develop them as tourist attraction centers at a cost of Rs 590.97 crore.
Announcing this, the State Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday said that the State would see transformation in six months’ time to ensure Punjab emerges as a big player in the global tourism sector while the Punjab NRI diaspora would be connected with historical and cultural roots.
Sidhu said that the projects under various schemes have been chalked out to develop these places as centres of excellence from the point of view of tourism. The holy city of Amritsar would be the centre of attraction in terms of tourism as 11 out of the 30 places are in and around it, he said.
Among these places include, Heritage Street, Wagha Border, Gobindgarh Fort, Jallianwala Bagh, Partition Museum, War Memorial, Pul Moran, Bhagwan Valmiki Tirath Sthal, Food Street, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Summer Place at Rambagh and Saada Pind in Amritsar.
Ropar has treaty spot of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and lord William Bentick, Bathinda Fort, Patti Fort, Bahadurgarh Fort at Patiala, Virasat-e-Khalsa at Sri Anandpur Sahib, Theme Park Chamkaur Sahib, Aam Khas Bagh Sirhind, Coronation spot of Mughal Emperor Akbar at Kalanaur in Gurdaspur, Samadh Baba Ala Singh, Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh Museum at Khatkar Kalan, Jang-e-Azadi memorial at Kartarpur, Sarai lashkari Khan at Doraha, Sarai Shambhu, Sarai Noor Mahal, Banasar Bagh Sangrur, Durbar Hall Kapurthala and Moorish Mosque Kapurthala.
These projects would come to fruition within a year and have facilities such as landscaping, restaurants, parking and toilets for the convenience of tourists, Sidhu said, adding that out of Rs 590.97 crore, Rs 344 crore is loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the sanction for which has been granted.
Besides, the sanction pertaining to Rs 96.97 crore for the revamp of religious and historical cities, in accordance with the Centre's Swadesh Darshan Scheme, has also been accorded, he said adding that the process to release this amount is in the final stages.
For Amritsar, Rs 50 crore would be spent under the Prasad scheme, he said.
Sidhu said that a project of Rs 100 crore has been prepared under Mughal Circuit which aims at developing historical spots in the state connected with the Mughal rule.
The total cost of the project is Rs 590.97 crore, and after this gets completed, another project worth Rs 100 crore under the Maharaja Circuit — for cities having connection with erstwhile princely states — would be sent to the Union Government, the Minister said.
The Minister has instructed the officers concerned to chalk out the tour itinerary of all the places and he would personally visit all these places along with officers and consultants.
In the first phase from June 15, he would visit Amritsar, Kalanaur, Harike Pattan, Kapurthala, Hussainiwala and also have meetings with the local administration in order to ensure the smooth running of the projects.
“During these visits, I would be accompanied by the eminent conservation expert Abha Narayan lamba and the representatives of Night Frank company,” he said.
PUNJAB TO RUN GOVT RESTAURANTS ON PPP MODE
Sidhu asserted that big names from the hotel industry have been invited for constructing government hotels on the assets of the department on important tourist spots in the state.
“The main aim is to revive PINCASSIA in Ropar as the tourism attraction for propelling the state’s income,” he said.
Besides, the Minister also directed the opening of restaurants on PPP mode for the convenience of the tourists in the various parts of the state such as Virasat-e-Khalsa at Sri Anandpur Sahib, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Museum at Khatkar Kalan (Nawanshahar), Malout-Abohar road.
He also expressed strong hope that the food street in Amritsar at Town Hall would be a place of great attraction for the tourists regarding which the tender process has been started.
SIDHU TO MEET IN’TNAl TOUR OPERATORS
Sidhu said that he would seek Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s permission to visit Canada, England, Australia and USA to meet international tour operators for attracting tourist inflow towards Punjab.