The Local Government and Tourism & Cultural Affairs Minister, Punjab, Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu here today met the National Head of the Indian Resident Mission of Asian Development Bank (ADB) Mr. Kenichi Yokoyama in order to bring to fruition prestigious projects pertaining to his both the departments. The ADB after viewing the presentations of Local Government as well as Cultural Affairs and Tourism departments gave the green signal for financial assistance to the projects.Disclosing the details, Mr. Sidhu said that with the approval of the bank the projects chalked out as per the development oriented ideology of the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh would be executed with perfection. He further said that it would be a great relief to the Punjab Government, battling with financial crisis, that the bank has okayed the loans for long term with negligible interest rate. He said that with the extremely fruitful results of today's meeting the projects of both the Local Government and Tourism department would get wings which in turn would lead to the complete transformation of the cities apart from turning the prominent tourist spots of Punjab into centres of attraction.Divulging more, Mr. Sidhu said that adb has shown its willingness to Rs. 5598 crore worth projects related to reinstatement of the sewerage treatment plants, AMRUT and smart city in which the the bank, Union Government and the Punjab Government would be joint partners. Giving details of the projects, the minister said that the smart city project is worth Rs. 2943 crore in which the ADB would contribute Rs. 1606 crore and the Union & Punjab Government would contribute Rs. 1337 crore.
The project would completely transform the 3 big cities of Punjab namely Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar on the infrastructural, urban transport system, sewerage and sanitation fronts. Similarly, under AMRUT scheme, a project worth Rs. 2426 crore has been chalked out in which the contribution of ADB would be Rs. 1387 crore and that of the Union and Punjab Government would be Rs. 1039 crores. Elaborating more, the minister said that in order to run and re-instate the defunct sewerage treatment plants (STP) in Punjab the ADB would provide Rs. 209 crore assistance while for the preparation of the smart city, AMRUT scheme and STP projects and their capacity enhancement the ADB would provide Rs. 20 crores.Mr. Sidhu added that the Chief Minister has formulated a plan for providing the clean drinking water of canal to the residents of Patiala City and a project worth Rs. 699.18 crore of ADB has been prepared for turning this into reality. To give final touches to the project, a delegation of ADB would visit Punjab on the 16th of July. The minister said that it is the target of the state government to provide clean drinking water of canal to the people and water treated by the sewerage treatment plants for the irrigation of the crops.Divulging about the deliberations held with the ADB with regard to the projects of Cultural Affairs and Tourism department, Mr. Sidhu said that the current projects being executed in the state would be completed by 2020 and the newly chalked out projects would be completed by 2022. The necessary financial assistance for these projects would be provided by the ADB. He said that in earlier times, the spots with potential for tourism suffered due to lack of integrated and holistic planning. He further said that the department has chalked out a circuit comprising religious, historical and tourist places of Amritsar, a separate circuit of the religious as well as the historical cities of Punjab, Mughal Circuit, Sufi Circuit, Maharaja Circuit and a different circuit comprising the ancestral places of famous literary personalities.
He further added that the ADB has already sanctioned the loan of Rs. 340 crore with further funds being received under the various schemes of the Union Government.Stating more, Mr. Sidhu said that a presentation was also made today before the ADB delegation with emphasis on turning the spots with historical significance into paradise for the tourists with facilities such as cafeteria, land scaping, parking, information centre. For the tourists coming from abroad or outside the state, arrangements for stay was also underlined which would increase the importance of these spots.Mr. Sidhu emphatically said that Punjab has immensely rich cultural heritage with innumerable spots which are historically, religiously and culturally significant. He exuded confidence that if properly maintained these spots have a great potential to see hordes of tourists visiting them.The minister expressed confidence that the department shall get financial assistance to the tune of Rs. 500 crore-Rs. 1000 crore for transforming these spots into a heaven for the tourists. To ensure this, the department would soon send a Detailed Project Report (DPR) to the ADB. Among others present in the meeting included Principal Secretary Local Government Mr. A. Venu Prasad, CEO of PMIDC Mr. Ajoy Sharma, Secretary Cultural Affairs and Tourism Mr. Vikas Pratap , Director Mr. Shivdular Singh Dhillon, Higher officials of the departments, Project Officer (Urban) Indian Resident Mission of ADB Mr. Vivek Vishal, Mrs. Abha Narayan Lamba and Mr. Moshe from the Knight Frank company.