Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday ushered in the week-long main celebrations of the 550th Prakash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji at historic Sultanpur Lodhi, with an appeal to one and all not to indulge in any politics or one-upmanship but to commemorate the auspicious event in the spirit of universal harmony, as propagated by the Great Guru.The Chief Minister launched the celebrations by performing the Sewa of Saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib before the start of Sehaj Path, jointly organised by the Punjab Government, Sikh Religious organisations and Sant Samaj at Sri Guru Nanak Darbar here. He called upon the people to follow the Guru’s teachings of tolerance and harmony to counter the challenges of growing religious intolerance faced by the country.Describing himself as a humble Sikh with a duty to celebrate the momentous event in a befitting manner, the Chief Minister later told the Sikh Sangat gathered here from across the state that they all had the privilege of celebrating the grant occasion in their lifetimes.
The Chief Minister invited all to participate in the main function on November 12, and also to visit and take darshan at Kartarpur, the dream of which was set to be realised on November 9 when the Prime Minister opens the Kartarpur Corridor at Dera Baba Nanak.On the occasion, the Chief Minister also announced a new administrative complex and a Rs 150 Crores ring road around the heritage city of Sultanpur Lodhi to enhance its connectivity with other cities. The iconic Quila Sarai, at present doubling up as the Tehsil administrative office, would be preserved by the state government as heritage building, he said.Captain Amarinder Singh, along with Cabinet Minister Charnjit Singh Channi, also released four books related with Guru Nanak's philosophy penned and edited by acclaimed Punjabi writers including Surjit Patar. The books - Guru Nanak’s Blessed Trail’, ‘Guru Nanak Bani’, Sone Ka Birkh’ (The Golden Tree) and Guru Nanak Dev Ji Life and Relics’ - have been printed by the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs.Besides, the Chief Minister inaugurated two exhibitions containing relics, manuscripts and rare books associated with Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s life. One, put up by the Tourism and Cultural Affairs Department, showcases 53 panels depicting the life of the first Sikh Guru, while the other has been curated by the Punjab Small Industries Export Corporation.Fully conscious of its duties to observe the historic 550th Prakash Purb in a befitting manner, the state government, said the Chief Minister in his address to the Sikh Sangat, had undertaken many infrastructure development works in both Sultanpur Lodhi and Dera Baba Nanak to make these kasbas into modern heritage towns.
Upgradation and widening of roads, besides construction of new bridges and improvement of hospitals, had been undertaken at a cost of Rs. 235 crores, the Chief Minister pointed out, adding that a Rs. 100 Crores project to develop all 70-odd Pahli Patshahi de Charan Chhoe Prapt Pind as model villages with proper amenities has also been initiated.The Chief Minister announced that cleaning and lining of the right bank of the Holy Bein had been completed in the Sultanpur Lodhi section at a cost of Rs. 11 crores, in partnership with Sant Seechewal.The State Government, said Captain Amarinder, had also secured approval from the Centre for its proposal to develop Sultanpur Lodhi as a Heritage Town for Rs. 271 cr on 50:50 sharing basis, and to set up a Centre for Inter-Faith Studies at GNDU Amritsar at a cost of Rs. 175 crores. It had also proposed establishment of a Pind Babe Nanak Da (Museum in around 75-80 acres of land) at a cost of Rs. 300 crores, he added.Widening of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Marg from Sultanpur Lodhi to Dera Baba Nanak Road via Beas and Raiyya had been undertaken at a cost of Rs. 102 Crores, the Chief Minister said.Highlighting the world class arrangements made for pilgrims, the Chief Minister said that a tented city, spread across 277 acres, for 35,000 people had been erected a cost of Rs. 53 Crores, with 2200 temporary toilets and 10 water vending machines, besides 18 parking sites spread over 542 acres to facilitate the devotees.Special trains, including Prakash Purab Express from Delhi to Sultanpur Lodhi, had also being made operational. Punjab had also made efficient arrangements for running of special buses and mini buses as well as e-rickshaws, free of cost for the devotees in Sultanpur Lodhi, said the Chief Minister.
To mark the historic occasion, Captain Amarinder Singh Government has convened a Special Vidhan Sabha Session on Wednesday, to be addressed by Vice President of India M. Venkiah Naidu and former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. A Conference of scholars on Peace and Amity would also be organised at Chandigarh on 7th and 8th besides Ik Noor Inter-Faith Conclave on 9th November at Amritsar, to be attended by many distinguished personalities including His Holiness the Dalai Lama.The Dera Baba Nanak Utsav would attract devotees from around the world from 8th to 11th November, while eminent Punjabis would be honoured at PTU Kapurthala on 10th, he added.In his welcome address, MP Khadoor Sahib Jasbir Singh Dimpa thanked the Chief Minister for ensuring overall development of the historic city well before the celebrations.The Chief Minister was joined at today’s event by several of his cabinet and party colleagues, besides members of the Sant Samaj and religious bodies. Cabinet Ministers Charanjit Singh Channi, Balbir Singh Sidhu, OP Soni, Sukhbinder Singh Sukh Sarkaria, Razia Sultana, Sunder Sham Arora, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Vijay Inder Singla attended the event, along with Media Advisor to CM, Raveen Thukral and PPCC President Sunil Jakhar. Political Secretary to CM Capt Sandeep Singh Sandhu, Principal Secretary Tourism and Cultural Affairs Vikas Pratap, Special Principal Secretary to CM Gurkirat Kirpal Singh were also present along with several MPs and MLAs.Prominent members of Sant Samaaj and religious bodies were also present. They included Sant Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi, Sant Hari Singh Randhawa Wale, Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal, Jathedar Baba Avtar Singh Ji, Sant Brahmgiani Paramjit Singh Hansali Wale, Sant Manmohan Singh Baran Wale, Sant Baba Ghala Singh Ji (Nanaksar), Sant Jagjit Singh Ji (Harkhowal), among others.