Fis­cal cri­sis hits Her­itage Street, in­ter­pre­ta­tion cen­tre’s op­er­a­tions

DIS­AR­RAY Ad­min­is­tra­tion re­quires ₹45 lakh per month to run the project but there is no proper fund­ing

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - PUNJAB - Sur­jit Singh sur­jit.singh@hin­dus­tan­

AM­RIT­SAR: 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 ₹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 find­ing it hard to man­age the ;am­bi­tious’ projects.

Same is the fate of the in­ter­pre­ta­tion cen­tre on which, the gov­ern­ment spent ₹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 ₹45 lakh per month of which, around ₹15 lakh is spent on 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 non­op­er­a­tional 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.

Speak­ing to Hin­dus­tan Times, 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.

“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,” Sukhbir had said.



The staff of in­ter­pre­ta­tion cen­tre rais­ing slo­gans dur­ing their protest against the state gov­ern­ment out­side the Golden Tem­ple in Am­rit­sar on Satur­day.

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