Sukhbir Badal flags off first pilgrim train from Jalandhar to Varanasi
Jalandhar (Punjab), Jan.20 : Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukbir Singh Badal today flagged off the first train to Varanasi from the Jalandhar City railway Station under the Mukh Mantri Tirath Yatra Scheme.Another train to Varanasi will start from Ludhiana. Besides this, 11 more Tirth Yatra trains are planned to start in January and February under this scheme.
Speaking about the initiative, Badal said, "This initiative of Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal would strengthen communal harmony in the state. It was a blessing to flag off the yatra train to Varanasi, a microcosm of Hinduism. Famed as one of the oldest inhabited cities of the world, Kashi is sanctified by religion."
He also interacted with the pilgrims on the train, who thanked the Punjab Government for this noble scheme.
"It was heart warming to interact with the pilgrims about their beliefs and importance of this abode of Shiva in their lives. We have always respected all the religions alike as we believe that all the religious paths lead to the same God," said Badal.
Answering a question about the Panama incident, Badal said the Punjab Government had raised the issue and had been assured by the External Affairs Ministry that all possible steps would be taken on the issue.
He also directed the police department to immediately start the crack down on illegal travel agents. He also appealed to media houses not to publish advertisements of illegal travel agents in the interest of the common man.
Talking about development initiatives by the Punjab Government, Badal said that Punjab is the first power surplus state across the nation, besides having unmatched road and air connectivity.
Prominent amongst those present on the occasion were cabinet ministers Ajit Singh Kohar, Sohan Singh Thandal, Bhagat ChunniLal, CPS Pawan Kumar Tinu and K.D. Bhandari, MLA Manoranjan Kalia, District Planning Committee Chairman Gurcharan Singh, Chairman Dilbah Hussain, Principal secretary (Transport) R. Vekatratnam, Deputy Commissioner K.K.Yadav, IG Arpit Shukla, DIG S.K.Verma, Police Commissioner Jalandhar Yurinder Singh Hair.
Mukh Mantri Tirath Yatra Yojana is yet another attempt of the Punjab Government to preserve and promote the majestic and secular culture of Punjab. Other initiatives taken up by the Punjab Government include:
. The attainment of heritage city status for the holy city of Amritsar. An amount of Rs. 69 crores has been allocated to preserve the monuments, mute testimonials of Punjab's glorious heritage.
. Facelift of Sri Harminder Sahib's facade at an outlay of Rs. 211 crore. The second phase for the same is underway.
. Preservation of Darshani Deori (opening step), at Darbar Sahib with its original and extensive ivory work has been accomplished.
. Preservation of architectural marvel of BungaRamgarhia (situated between Sri Guru Ram Das langar hall building and Sri Harmandir Sahib parikarma) as a heritage building with the support of Heritage Management Services, Noida.
. To present the 500-year old glorious legacy to the millenials of Punjab, the Punjab government has built Virasat-e-Khalsa at Sri Anandpur Sahib. The project spread in 100 acres has costed Rs.250 crores.
. The SAD-BJP government has built a Victory Memorial in the memory of Banda Bahadur at Chapparchiri near SAS Nagar at a cost of Rs 6.2 crore. A 328 feet high burj has been built as a memorial of 1711 misls.
. To commemorate the sacrifices of Sikhs in the tragic war of May 17, 1746, a memorial has been built at the ChhotaGhallughara site at Kahnuwan in Gurdaspur district at an outlay of Rs. 18 crores.
. The Punjab Government has also built Wadda Ghallughara site in village Kup Rohira in Sangrur District at a cost of Rs.24.70 crore, in the honour of martyrs of 1762 genocide.
. Punjab Government has allocated Rs 180 crores for Ram Tirath, the sacred ashram of Bhagwan ValmikiJi.
. The construction of Jang-e-Azadi Memorial, in the commemoration of the martyrs of the freedom struggle, is underway at Amritsar.
. The Punjab Government has announced the construction of Sri Guru Ravidas Memorial at Kuralgarh on the expanse of 13 acres with an investment of Rs. 50-60 crores.
. The Punjab government had approved Rs 24 crores for Baba Jiwan Singh Memorial to be erected at Sri Anandpur Sahib near Virasat-e-Khalsa.
. The Badal government has taken an initiative to build BhaiMardana Memorial at Ferozepur. Project cost is estimated to be Rs 11 crores. The Memorial will also house a Sangeet Academy and a Satsang hall.
. Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University spread over 100 acres has come up at Fatehgarh Sahib. Jointly conceived by ShiromaniGurdwaraParbandhak Committee and Punjab Government, this university provides teachings of Sikh religion besides other religions.
. The Punjab government in consultation with the Sikh historians has finalized to strengthen the route of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji's journey from Anandpur Sahib to Sri Talwandi Sabo. The renovation of this heritage marg, with an expense of Rs. 30 crores, has been underway. EOM
. Punjab Government under the tutelage of CM Mr. Prakash Singh Badal has always ensured communal harmony in the state while ensuring respect for all religions in the state.