Are Badals going the Mayavati way! Just when Assembly polls are around the corner, in the midst of bad economy of the State, Punjab is building 16 memorials spending Rs. 1500 crores.
These memorials include those on independence movement, wars, the last Sikh ruler Maharaj Ranjit Singh, and even cows. A ruling leader in the state described this as an exercise in celebrating Punjabi culture and valour.
One of the memorials being made in the memory of Guru Ravi Das, a saint poet, is is being constructed for whopping Rs. 110 crores on 14.5 acres of land at Khuralgarh Sahib, Hoshiarpur.
The Ravidasia community forms a major chunk of vote bank. Two Akali MLAs, including Tourism Minister Sohan Singh Thandal, are hoping the memorial will please the community
Earlier this year, the SAD-BJP government led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had started special pilgrimage trains to revered places for Hindus and Sikhs across the country. The political scene is similar to the one prevailing before the 2012 elections, when the same similar exercise was taken up.
However, this is in a state that may not have funds to give full salary to newly recruited employees, and where government land is being sold to keep the administration running. These memorials will open fully or in part for public by November this year, before the code of conduct for the 2017 Assembly elections is enforced.
Khanda Memorial Fatehgarh Sahib
In Amritsar, most construction work for the Punjab War Heroes Memorials is complete. The work on a 130-ft high sword near the Wagah border is going on at a feverish pitch. The deadline for the sword memorial is October 23, while the museums and others can be built by next year. The general manager of the research project Col Harvinder Singh (retd.), says the sharp edge of the sword is facing Pakistan, “The memorial will carry names of all martyr-soldiers from Punjab. The sword with brass coating is embellished with gold work.”
The employees at the memorial don’t forget to mention the name of Akali MLA Ranjit Singh Talwandi and the Badals for making it possible.