On Holy Trip, PM Rolls Out Promises
News Source: http://www.indianexpress.comOn holy trip, PM rolls out promises
Posted online: Thursday, September 02, 2004 at 0154 hours IST
AMRITSAR, SEPTEMBER 1: Ever since he was catapulted to the centrestage, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the holy city was much awaited. And today, as he came to join the quadri-centennial festivities in connection with the holy Sikh scriptures, he refused no one. Demands poured in, first from Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, then from Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal.
The PM—recognising the spirit of Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh — repeatedly addressed the mammoth gathering at New Amritsar venue as Pyare Khalsa Ji and rolled out goodwill: Special Economic Zone, hope of Rs 1,100 crore of industrial investment, generating 50,000 plus jobs, Rs 70 crore for the Galiara project, and even raising the quota for recruitment into the armed forces.
Earlier, he paid obeisance at the Golden Temple along with his wife, Gursharan Kaur, before retiring to the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) campus.
On the demand for opening a land corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur to Kartarpur in Pakistan—raised today by Amarinder—Singh promised New Delhi would take up the issue with Pakistan during the next round of talks. ‘‘Every Sikh longs to visit gurdhams from which the panth has been deprived, when he offers ardas daily,’’ he said.
As expected, the PM said the Golden Temple would be declared a world heritage site within a year by UNESCO. He assured the Government would extend all help for the National Centre for Guru Granth Sahib Studies and Research. He also promised the much-needed funds to complete the Khalsa Heritage Project.
Responding to Badal’s demand for the return of rare manuscripts and documents taken away by the Army during Operation Bluestar, Singh promised to ensure their return. A Special Economic Zone for the border district, said the PM, is likely to attract private sector investment worth Rs 1,100 crore.
Former PM A.B. Vajpayee pointed out the uniqueness of the Sikh scriptures, and state Congress chief H.S.Hanspal read out party chief Sonia Gandhi’s message greeting the community