Bathinda, Nov.24 : Being one of the oldest towns in Punjab, Bathinda today steadily emerging as the State's modern industrial city.
Bathinda City today boasts of having Asia's biggest railway junction and one of the biggest food-grain and cotton markets in India.
Major developments plans have been put in place since last year.
The government plans to set-up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for textile, a domestic airport, an air-conditioned bus terminal-cum-commercial complex, a flying academy and a cricket stadium.
Besides, private players, including Wal-Mart, have plans to set-up a city centre on a sprawling area of four-and-a-half acres that will house a five star hotel, a shopping mall, multiplex, an entertainment zone, hyper markets, food courts and Anchor stores.
Spread over an area of 2,100 square miles, Bathinda is today the administrative headquarters of the Bathinda District and is surrounded by 12 small and medium towns, making the city a hub for most industrial activities in the region.
Connectivity to other cities is one of the foremost objectives. Bathinda District is well- connected to each and every part of the country through its rail network.
Professor P.K.Mahajan, an economist, said: "This town has a well-connected rail link with Delhi and other states. Ferozepur-Mumbai is a very old train, which is catering to the people of Bathinda and Mumbai. If there is industrial development, it will no way be dissatisfaction to any entrepreneur coming and investing here."
The industrial revolution in the town took root in 1974, when the first unit of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Power Plant was commissioned. It not only ended the chronic problem of power-cuts in the region but also emerged as the plant with the lowest oil-fuel consumption in the country.
Today, the city has two power plants, a fertilizer plant, an oil refinery, Petrochemical Plants, Yarn and Textile plants, Citrus fruit belts and Sugar Mills.
The city also boasts of the country's one of the biggest cotton and food-grain markets besides hundreds of small and medium scale industries in and around the city providing employment to thousands in the region.
Surjeet Singh, Managing Director, Sujeet Electricals Pvt. Ltd., "Bathinda has made its distinct place on the industrial map of Punjab. It can become the second biggest industrial town after Ludhiana, if governments pays a little more interest on it. It can emerge as a tourist destination as well and help in the hospitality industry to grow in the region."
Tourism sector in the region has also grown manifold, as Bathinda has some of the oldest monuments, some of them even dating back to 3,000 B.C. to the Harappan period.
Qila Mubarak, a fort as old as 1,900 years forms the heart of the city and has been a favourite among domestic as well as foreign tourists. Moreover, other attractions include like Damdama Sahib, Rose Garden and Zoological garden.
The hospitality industry here too is gearing-up to meet the increased inflow of tourists.
Vikramjeet Singh, the Chief Executive Officer of the Bahia Group, said: "Hotel industry is already at a very good level in this region. We have very good hotels here - 3 three-star hotel, 1 four-star hotel and 5-6 2-star hotels. More hotels are coming as Choice Group is coming up with a 100-room hotel. Potential will generate in coming time because if over all infrastructure will develop, definitely outside public will like to come to Bathinda."
Historically, Rao Bhatti is believed to have established the modern town of Bathinda in the Lakhi jungle area in the third century. But the Brars captured it from him. Bala Rao Bhatti inhabited the city in 965 AD, naming it Bhatti vinda after his surname. The city also remained the capital of King Jaipal. Later, the city's name was changed to Bhatinda. Presently, it is known as Bathinda. By Avatar Singh