SGPC begins cleanup drive from Golden Temple Galiara

Tribune News Service

GS Pole

Amritsar, September 11

Dismayed by the government’s apathetic attitude towards the poor maintenance of areas around the Golden Temple, including Galiara, Heritage Street and the walkways leading to the shrine, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has announced that it will launch a cleaning campaign of its own.

In the first phase, the SGPC has already deployed a team of six ‘safai karamcharis’ to start the cleaning drive from the galiaras (corridors) around the Golden Temple.

At present, mountains of garbage can be seen due to lack of maintenance and anti-social elements are roaming around as no check is being carried out.

Golden Temple trustee Bhagwant Singh confirmed that besides sanitation, a green belt will also be created at Galiara and the next step will be to install CCTV cameras for surveillance.

The Galiara (corridor) has become unsightly due to lack of maintenance. Conceived as part of the Golden Temple Beautification Plan, it was conceived by the central government in June 1988. Its aim is to clear all the narrow lanes and bazaars that were a hindrance to security forces during Operation Blue Star and turn it into a place of entertainment for visitors. However, its maintenance is the responsibility of the state government.

The situation was the same with the iconic Heritage Street. Under the SAD-BJP government, Rs 3,500-4,000 crore was spent on the Heritage Street project and a dedicated staff was hired through a corporation for management and maintenance in 2016. The SAD-BJP had also set aside a separate fund of Rs 500 crore for the purpose at that time. But with the change of government, the Congress government was unable to sustain it. The services of this corporation also ended in 2019.

The SGPC has accused the Punjab government of failing to maintain cleanliness and had earlier sought control over Galiara Road and Heritage Road, but to no avail.

“What impression will tourists from around the world get when they visit the Golden Temple through its foul-smelling piles of garbage and corridors rife with illegal occupation?” said SGPC chairman Harjinder Singh Dhami.

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