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First phase of Khalsa Heritage project to be inaugurated tomorrow

Written by: Staff

Anandpur Sahib, Apr 13 (UNI) The first phase of the Rs 224 crore mega Khalsa Heritage Project that provides a fascinating journey into the Sikh faith and its 500 years of history, full of valour and sacrifices will be inaugurated here tomorrow.

An amount of Rs 79 crore had so far been spent on the project, launched during the Khalsa tricentenary celebrations in 1999 by the then Akali Government headed by Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal.

Work on the stupendous project in this holy town, the birthplace of the 'Khalsa' had, however, hit a roadblock due to financial crunch.

However, with the Union Cabinet last month approving the government's contribution of Rs 48.33 crore for the project to the Punjab government and release of balance amount of Rs 46.33 crore, the second phase of project is all set to begin after the commissioning of the first phase tomorrow.

The second phase is slated to be fully commissioned on Baisakhi Day next year.

The state government spent Rs 31 crore on the project out of Rs 50 crore released by the Centre in 1999. As the project was planned on a grand scale and required additional funds, the Punjab government approached the Centre after the construction work came to a halt in 2004.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his visit to Anandpur Sahib in September 2004, announced that the Centre would contribute the required funds for completion of the project.

The work got restarted as the Anandpur Sahib Foundation had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Punjab National Bank (PNB)-led consortium of five banks for lending a term loan of Rs 100 crore. The balance amount is being met by constributions of Rs 48,33 crore each from the Centre, the Punjab government and community donations.

The project, conceived as two integrated sets of building on a 100-acre site--the western complex and the eastern complex-- would be completed in December this year while the Khalsa Heritage Museum will be formally opened on Baisakhi next year.

The western complex forms the gateway to Anandpur Sahib town and houses buildings for catering to the needs of the people, like exhibition galleries, research and reference library and a 400-seated auditorium to host seminar and cultural events. A part of the western complex including the galleries and library have been completed and will be commissioned tomorrow.

The eastern complex will house the Khalsa Heritage Museum comprising permanent exhibit galleries on 500 years of Sikh heritage. This museum will rival with the best in the world.

Renowned American architect Moshe Safdie is engaged in the project, being executed by Anandpur Sahib Foundation, the nodal agency for its execution.

The museum would cover 500 years of Sikh history, starting from Guru Nanak Dev. Sophisticated multi-media and virtual reality equipment will be used. It is set to place the holy town of Anandpur Sahib on the international map of tourists and will have both educative and entertinment values.


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