No funds for Bapuís portrait near Rs 150-crore Attari ICP

Having spent more than Rs 150 crore, the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Attari may have become a show piece achievement for the Indian government. However, just a few yards away from the ICP, a portrait of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, lies in utter neglect crying for attention.

The portrait, with its colours fading and marked by rust, is placed at the top of the Indian gate facing Pakistan at the old Joint Check Post from where passengers cross over.

As per the experts, it may take only a few thousand rupees replace the photo of Mahatma Gandhi with a new one and get the frame repaired. But, amid thunderous retreat ceremony ó where the Border Security Force is now reportedly mulling over to lay Rs 4 lakh worth of wooden carpet for the jawans to ensure their feet do not get hurt during high decibel thudding - the portrait of the man credited with leading India to freedom through non-violent means, has failed to get any attention.

The weather has taken a toll on the portrait with rust marks clearly visible on the face of Mahatma. Bang opposite the Mahatma's portrait, on the Pakistan gate facing India, is a similar sized photograph of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, which is in a fairly good condition.

An official said the portrait has remained neglected ever since it was installed here years back. "See how Pakistan has maintained the portrait of Jinnah," he said requesting not to be named.

A large number of people, including politicians, bureaucrats and industrialists, cross over daily from the check post. A 45-member delegation of Punjab government led by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal on Friday returned to India after a five day tour of Pakistan from the check post. A large number of people from across India gather to watch the retreat ceremony at the pavilion located near the Mahatma's portrait.

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