Amritsarís Heritage Village still far from taking off

Though the Heritage Village coming up in Amritsar is one of the pet projects of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, but the SAD-BJP combine will find it difficult to lay total claim on it, since the work is unlikely to be finished before the Assembly elections due early next year.

Recently, Sukhbir had laid the foundation of the Rs 12-crore Heritage Village coming up over land belonging to Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU). Ironically, what had delayed the project for about two years was the turf war between previous GNDU vice-chancellor of Dr Jai Rup Singh and the state administration over change in use of this land.

After new Vice-Chancellor Ajaib Singh Brar joined the university in July 2009, one of his first tasks was to allow the state government to develop the heritage village over 12 acres of the varsity's land. The tagline of the project is 'Saada Pind Saadi Virasat'.

The Heritage Village is being developed to represent the village culture of Punjab and also showcase its traditional crafts. It will feature kiosks for traditional food and beverages, a rural kitchen, a playground complete with peengh, kabaddi, gulli-danda etc, an akhara where wrestling bouts will be conducted and a fair ground, complete with rides and rural sports. As of now, construction is on at the site to set up huts and kiosks for the rural activities.

The draft proposal for the Heritage Village was made by Delhi-based consultancy firm Abhimanyu Dalal Architects. Speaking to The Indian Express, Dalal said, "The buildings are done, flooring and electrical work is going on. Landscape work at the site should start in November and will finish in about two months."

Since a lake is an intrinsic part of a village in Punjab, an artificial lake is being created to be a part of the Heritage Village. After construction work is over, work will begin on furnishing the village with rural artifacts. The work of furnishing the village, organising the rural activities here and running the whole complex will be given to a private group.

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