Punjab

Navjot Sidhu to visit Harike Pattan to explore tourism potential

June 16, 2017 10:16 PM

Punjab News Express/Swati Walia
CHANDIGARH: The Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister, Punjab, Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu would visit Harike Pattan on 17th June to explore the possibility of developing Harike Wildlife Sanctuary as a tourism destination, establishing a tourism centre and take stock of the amphibious bus project started by the previous dispensation. During the visit 4 MLAs from areas adjoining the region, namely- Mr. Parminder Singh Pinki (Ferozepur), Mr. Harminder Singh Gill (Patti), Mr. Sukhpal Singh Bhullar (Khemkaran) and Mr. Kulbir Singh Zira (Zira) would also accompany Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu. The region would be developed as a hub of tourism with the due consultation of the MLAs of concerned areas.
It was disclosed here today by Mr. Sidhu while interacting with the media-persons after the conclusion of day's proceedings of Vidhan Sabha session. The minister took the decision after MLA Harminder Singh Gill asked a query during the question hour regarding developing Harike as a tourist destination.
Earlier, during question hour while replying to the query, Mr. Sidhu said that Harike Wildlife Sanctuary is being developed as a tourist attraction under the Asian Development Bank assisted Infrastructure Development Investment Program for Tourism (Tranche-3 which commenced in 2015) in which eco-tourism development works are being done. These works were tendered out in August 2015 and so far only 29% works have been completed. In addition, decision to introduce amphibious bus in Harike was taken by previous Government on 12.08.2015. Funds for this project were received from Punjab Infrastructure Development Board in 2016. An expenditure of Rs 8.62 crore has been incurred on the purchase of bus, construction of ramp, insurance and other miscellaneous charges. The bus was inaugurated on 12.12.2016 and so far, it has been operated on 10 days generating revenue of only Rs 64,000 for the Government.
In his address to the SAD MLAs resorting to sloganeering, Mr. Sidhu said that the ex-Deputy CM in a bid to operate his amphibious bus, got water released from Ropar Headworks which submerged the crops of 5000 farmers and now his party MLAs are crying hoarse about the rights of farmers. He further divulged that the so called amphibious bus ran for just 10 days. Revealing more, the minister said that if the previous government was so concerned about running buses then why didn't they operated the buses of PRTC which is reeling under the loss of Rs. 350 crore. Launching more attacks, he said that after assuming power, the Badal family increased by leaps and bounds the number of their private buses and a close aide of theirs makes the time tables of the buses which caused enormous loss to the PRTC.
Mr. Sidhu also elaborated that like Transport Department, the Badals ruined the Government Tourist Complexes just to bolster their own hotel business thus causing huge financial loss to the state exchequer. He said that the main target of the Captain Amarinder Singh led government is to take pro-people decisions.
The minister also castigated SAD as a party devoid of issues which causes them to violate the Vidhan Sabha norms with impunity and not let the question hour function properly whereas in accordance with the democratic traditions, the elected representatives battle it out on grounds of ideology in the Vidhan Sabha.

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