Heritage board in offing

Mr S.K. Mishra, retired IAS officer, who has considerable experience in managing heritage sites, was being tipped as chairman of the proposed board.

The Secretary, Tourism and Culture, Punjab, Ms Geetika Kalha, when contacted on the phone, said the Punjab Government had decided to form the board within this week. It would look after the functioning of various tourism and heritage projects in the state.

Sources, however, said the Congress government had decided to form the board to wrest control of important projects from private organisations headed by SAD ministers. The development of one such prestigious project, Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex, at Anandpur Sahib was with the Anandpur Sahib Foundation. The former

Chief Minister, Mr Prakash Singh Badal, was a permanent lifetime chairman of the foundation.
After the change of government in the state, development work of Khalsa Heritage Complex had slowed down considerably due to paucity of funds. The sources said the present government wanted to wrest the control of the project from the Anandpur Sahib Foundation headed by Mr Prakash Singh by forming the Punjab Heritage Board.

Ms Kalha, when asked if the board would take over the development of Khalsa Heritage Complex, said it would be done if the state government assigned the duty to the board.

The sources said instead of disbanding the Anandpur Sahib Foundation, the government may allot the supervision of Khalsa Heritage Complex to the board. In that case, the role of Anandpur Sahib Foundation in the development of the complex would automatically be reduced to that of an appendage.

Though the government had made a provision of Rs 15 crore for the development of Khalsa Heritage Complex in the Budget, it was not enough to sustain its development. The project was to be completed by August 2002 as per the schedule. However, it was highly unlikely that it would be completed on time.

With donations for the project not forthcoming, the Punjab Government was hoping for aid from the Union Government. The Government was hoping for aid for the project during the forthcoming visit of Tourism Minister Jagmohan to the state on August 3.

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