My City A victim of official apathy

Amritsar made substantial contribution to alt every human activity and has proud privilege of producing a galaxy of legendaries. To name a few, freedom fighters like Madan Lal Dhingra, Dr Saifudin Kitchlu, Dr Satya Pal, Shaheed Udham Singh, Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna, Sohan Singh Josh; literary giants like Bhai Veer Singh, Dhani Ram Chatrik, Nanak Singh, Sadat Hasan Manto, great teachers like Principal Teja Singh, Bhai Jodh Singh, Gurbachan Singh Talib, Sant Singh Sekhon, Master Sunder Singh, Dr Tulsi Dass, Dr Maan Singh Nirankari; devoted artists like Gian Singh Naqqash, S.G. Thakur Singh; public men like Dayal Singh Majithia, Seth Radha Krishan, G.R. Sethi, Mubarak Singh and sportsmen like Lala Amarnath, Bishen Singh Bedi, Mohinder Amarnath, Madan Lal, belonged to this city and its periphery.

People here are known for their enthusiasm to live full life. They are known for their resilience and can withstand any challenge. They bravely bore the brunt of the Partition, Indo-Pakistan wars and terrorism and the life quickly returned to normal. They value friendship and enjoy celebrating alt all the festivals, Lohri, Basant, Baisakhi, Dussehra, Divali and Gurpurbs whole-heartedly. One distinctive tradition of Amritsar is Langoor Dance during the Navratras in the month of October. People lead their sons dressed as langoors at the beat of drums to the temple of Lord Hanuman in fulfillment of their prayer seeking the birth of a son. They relish eating to their heart’s fill. They enjoy and serve to their dear and near ones a variety of delicious and nutritious delicacies, which are available right from the beginning of the day till midnight. The result is that all the eating-points, cooking different types of food, are very popular. Due to the easy availability of food of their liking and taste, ladies occasionally skip cooking and take their families out for breakfast and dinner.

With growing awareness and hassle-free availability of resources Amritsar is now fast expanding. More residential colonies are coming up all around. This is putting extra pressure on the existing infrastructure and reducing green patches. Ram Bagh Garden, founded by Maharaja Ranjit Singh is the only open green park, which is thronged by thousands of morning walkers and evening strollers. Many more such parks are needed.

t residents rarely pay any attention to cleanliness and sanitation. Even the municipal corporation does very little in this regard. Choked sewers and flooded roads and streets even at the slightest shower narrate the indifference of the people and authorities. Streets remain, for t of the day, littered with filth. Amritsar also suffers from economic depression as the development in the city is at a snail’s pace.

The state enthusiasm for developing Amritsar, witnessed during the Sikh and British periods, started withering in the post-Independence era. Being a border town and total lack of political initiative has very severely affected the economic growth of the holy city. The flight of industries and commercial interests of the people has reduced Amritsar, once know for its textile and processing industry, into insignificance in face of rapid growth of towns like Ludhiana and Jalandhar. The center of All India Radio and Doordarshan Kendra initially established in Amritsar were gradually shifted to Jalandhar.

Apathy of government and political leaders to this border town looks very strange and unreasonable when we notice that similar geographical position of Lahore has not at all blocked the progress of the city. The fact is that but for Golden Temple, Amritsar would have lost its identity. If we have to put the city back on road to regain its lost glory, then people must resolve to make it clean, green and pollution free. This resolve has to be strongly backed by political and official initiative to provide the necessary infrastructure so that Amritsar is able to soon join the club of the developed cities of the country.

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