Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday announced the revival of the Anandpur Sahib Urban Development Authority, along with his government’s decision to set up the Skills University at Chamkaur Sahib in the name of Dashmesh Pita Guru Gobind Singh.The Chief Minister made these announcements while addressing a gathering here opposite the Keshgarh Sahib Gurdwara, after paying his obeisance to Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji at the historic gurdwara’s sanctum sanctorum, on the conclusion of the saint-soldier’s 350th birth anniversary commemoration celebrations.Captain Amarinder also said he would request the Government of India to declare the Guru Gobind Singh Marg in the State and the rest of India as a National Highway and road of special importance.Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh accompanied Captain Amarinder at the event, along with the latter’s wife and former union minister PreneetKaur, AICC leaders AshaKumari, Harish Chaudhary and AmbikaSoni, Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, PPCC President Sunil Jakhar, Speaker Punjab VidhanSabha and MLA Sri Anandpur Sahib Rana KP Singh, among others.Captain Amarinder was presented a Siropa by JathedarTakht Sri Keshgarh Sahib GianiRaghbir Singh and Head GranthiPhoola Singh on the historic occasion, which the Chief Minister described as a moment he would always cherish. The Jathedar also presented a Siropa to the former Prime Minister.
The Chief Minister, who had earlier visited Takht Sri Patna Sahib Gurudwara as part of the 350th commemoration celebrations, said the land of Sri Anandpur Sahib had a special place in the hearts of the Sikhs as the Guru had founded the KhalsaPanth here. Captain Amarinder said the ideology and philosophy of Guru Gobind Singh ji, whom he described as unique and special for Sikhs worldwide, continued to be relevant even today.The Chief Minister, while recalling the sacrifices of the Guru, expressed himself to be fortunate to be participating in this historic event.Underlining his government’s commitment to the upliftment of this holy place, the Chief Minister said the revival of Sri Anandpur Sahib Urban Development Authority would pave the way for the upgradation of its basic infrastructure and amenities. The skills university, for which the government has already approved 100 acres of land, would help empower the children of this sacred land and make them gainfully employable in the competitive global job market, he added.The Chief Minister also announced several measures to promote industrial development and tourism in the area. The government would work on improving tourist facilities in the region, which has a plethora of historic monuments and religious sites, he said.Captain Amarinder highlighted the potential for a Food Park in the Ropar-Anandpur Sahib belt, as well as scope for development of large units for the manufacturing of earthmoving machinery like JCBs, Truck and bus bodies. He further mooted declaration of a Stone Crusher Zone to locate stone crushers in this crusher zone and develop the stone crushing industry in the belt.Further, being close to Ludhiana, a Textile Park in the garmenting, weaving and technical textile can be planned in this area, he said, disclosing that one of the major Anchor units – Sportking – was planning a large unit in Ropar.
Recalling the countless blessings of Sri Guru Gobind Singh bestowed upon his forefathers Baba Tarloka and Baba Rama ji, Captain Amarinder said that immediately after the creation of KhalsaPanth in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh ji personally baptised his forefathers in 1702 at Damdama Sahib. He also said that his forefathers had been fortunate to have the possession of rare treasure of Hukamnama, Sri Nishan Sahib and Shashtars bestowed upon them by Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji, which were still kept in the Gurdwara Sahib with utmost respect and reverence by his family members.Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Manmohan Singh said the life and ideology of Guru Gobind Singh showed the path to strengthen the ethos of harmony, religious tolerance, peace and brotherhood. He pointed out that Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji never discriminated against any religion, but respected all human beings, regardless of colour, caste and creed.The real tribute to Sri Guru Gobind Singh would be to follow his path and bring an end to gender discrimination, said the former Prime Minister. “As true Sikhs, we should not discriminate between men and women, and should provide equal opportunities of education to both, to enable them to become ideal citizens of the society. Dr. Manmohan Singh also sought people’s cooperation and support to stamp out the menace of drugs from the society.Dr. Manmohan Singh also gave a clarion call to the people, as well as religious and voluntary organisations, to work together for the protection of the environment, whose deterioration was a matter of deep concern. He pointed out that Sikhism accords the highest priority to prime natural resources like water, air and earth as depicted by Sri Guru Nanak DevJi in Japuji Sahib.
Cultural Affairs and Tourism Minister Navjot Sidhu said the unparalleled sacrifice of Guru Gobind Singh ji would continue to inspire generation to imbibe the spirit of self-sacrifice for the welfare of humanity.Member Parliament from Gurdaspur and PPCC president Sunil Jakhar said that Guru Gobind Singh ji invoked a spirit of self-sacrifice and universal brotherhood amongst the people, especially Punjabis. The message of religious tolerance and compassion spread by Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji continued to drive the people of Punjab, he said, adding that the Guru taught the value of fighting against tyranny, oppression and injustice by his own example, as he battled the domination of the Mughal rulers.In his welcome address, Rana KP Singh said he was fortunate to be elected from this holy place to serve the people of this region, who were bereft of basic amenities of potable water supply, roads etc. He expressed gratitude to DrManmohan Singh for sanctioning a special Rs. 102 crore package for the development of Sri Anandpur Sahib during his prime ministerial tenure. He also thanked Captain Amarinder Singh for special allocation to the tune of Rs. 100 crore during his previous term in 2002 for the all-round development of this historic city.
Meanwhile, Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi proposed a vote of thanks.Earlier, eminent Dhadi Des Raj Lachkani, Kuljit Singh Dilbar regaled the Sangat with their scintillating performance. Dr. Nivedita Singh, a classical vocalist from Punjabi University, Patiala and BhaiBaldeep Singh performed kirtan on the occasion. Noted Sikh scholar Bhai Ashok Singh Bagnia and Professor Emeritus, department of History, Panjab University, Chandigarh Dr. InduBanga highlighted the different aspects of Guru ji’s life and ideology. Apart from these, renowned Punjabi poet Padam Shree Surjit Singh Patar and classical vocalist SajanMisra also recited a poem on Noor-e-Nazar and ShabadKirtan respectively. Prominent amongst others who attended the function included former Chief Minister RajinderKaurBhatthal, Former RajyaSabha Member H.S. Hanspal, Punjab Mandi Board Chairman Lal Singh, Member Parliament ChaudharySantokh Singh, Cabinet Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, RanaGurjit Singh, TriptRajinder Singh Bajwa, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Razia Sultana besides several MLAs, party leaders and workers.