Apathy ruins Ranjit Singh panorama
#Amritsar: The city’s landmark Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama ‘silently’ marks its 10th anniversary as the occasion did not find any place on the agenda of the government to commemorate it. Built at a cost of Rs 5 crore by the National Council of Science Museums, it has failed to impress the tourists due to poor publicity, ill maintenance and lack of governance. Inaugurated on July 20, 2006 by the then CM Capt Amarinder Singh, this aesthetically designed tall cylindrical building depicting the visual documentation of the Maharaja near the Summer Palace in the Rambagh Heritage Garden here, is in a pathetic condition.
Officials believe that multiple departments involved in controlling the panorama was its undoing. They also attribute the same to the cash-strapped Amritsar MC. The building is under the jurisdiction of the MC, whereas the custodian of the artifacts is the Department of Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Archaeology and Museum. A random visit to the Panorama revealed that its air-conditioning plant was lying defunct. So was the generator unit which was also found to be out of order. A ticket costs Rs 10 (adult) and Rs 5 (child).
Officials claim that just 200-300 visitors come here daily. A visitor from Lucknow Sushil Kumar and his family were enthralled to see the important events of Maharaja’s life. “But, the defunct air conditioning played spoilsport”, he said. Banarsi Dass Khanna from Delhi said that billboards could be placed on the way to the Golden Temple, Durgiana Mandir or Jallianwala Bagh so that tourists know about it,” said. The Director, Tourism Cultural Affairs Department, Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa, said, “Proceedings are underway to hand over the panorama to the newly constituted Punjab Heritage Tourism Promotion Board (PHTPB). It was decided in the cabinet that money generated from additional cess on liquor would be spent on such neglected projects”, he said.