Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Aman Umeed Tourist Complex at Wagah Border Inaugurated

The Minister of Tourism and Culture has inaugurated a tourist resort, Aman Umeed Bhawan, earlier popularly known as Neem Chameli at Attari - Wagha border in Amritsar in the presence of the Chief Minister of Punjab. The complex has the built up area of about 10,000 sq. ft. and is spread over 1.75 acres of land, with the facilities of restaurants, bar, shops, rooms and toilet facilities for the domestic as well as foreign tourists, and in particular from Pakistan. It also has facilities like reception, lobby, bar and restaurant. The Minister after inaugurating the complex said the flow of tourists from across the border will help in further promoting peace between the two countries. She said, punjab tourism has vast potential for employment generation and Institute of Hotel Management set up in the area will provide opportunities for youth to work in the sector. She said Punjab has potential to develop MICE tourism in a big way and the Centre will provide all help to establish a Convention Centre in the State.

Amritsar has also been provided the financial support from the Ministry of Tourism for other projects like the integrated development of Amritsar which consists of the components of environmental upgradation of Ghanta Ghar Chowk, Tourist facilities at Rambagh, Punjab Freedom Struggle Interpretation Centre at Govindgarh etc.
The city has also been sanctioned a mega project which comprises the major components on composite cultural heritage walk, darshan five sarovar path, conservation and revitalization of Town Hall, rural art, craft and architectural interpretation center, conservation of samadhis, visitor facilitation centre at the bus terminus, Lahori Gate site development, landscaping and horticulture etc. Amritsar has thus been identified as one of the mega destinations/circuits out of the twenty two identified by the Ministry of Tourism in the country for integrated development.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sikh guru in Heroes of Environment list

Heaping praises on environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal for launching a campaign to clean up the polluted 'Kali Bein' in Punjab, Time magazine has profiled the Sikh sect leader as one of the 30 'Heroes of Environment' selected from across the globe. Describing Seechewal as the man 'who set out to clean up this mess', the magazine lauded him for mobilising people to launch a movement that taught the people why they should clean the 'Kali Bein'.

'We have proved that it is possible to restore our rivers to a pristine condition if we all come together,' Seechewal told the Time magazine.

'It is time to do that on a bigger scale,' he said.

'Kali Bein', the 160-km-long river in Hoshiarpur district in Punjab, was reduced to a filthy drain into which people from more than six towns and 40 villages emptied their waste, leaving neighbouring farmlands parched. The river was revived a couple of years back after Seechewal and his followers took up the cause and raised funds to clean the river, which is now a favourite picnic spot.

Sikhs believe that Guru Nanak Dev attained enlightenment after taking a dip in 'Kali Bein' 500 years back before founding Sikhism.

'In 2000, Seechawal, a Sikh holy man, set out to clean up the mess in the river. The scale of the task was gigantic-volunteers cleared the entire riverbed of water hyacinth and silt, and built riverbanks and roads alongside the river,' the magazine wrote.

Seechawal launched a public-awareness campaign asking the villagers to dispose of their sewage elsewhere and some people revived traditional methods of waste disposal and treatment.

'A government order to divert water from a nearby canal was eventually obtained. As the riverbed was cleared, natural springs revived and the river began to fill up. Since then trees have been planted along its banks and fishing has been preserve biodiversity,' the magazine said.