Chhota Ghallughara: Memorial of Courage

Built in a 10 acre campus the Chhota Ghallughara is a memorial to those brave Sikh men who lost their lives to the Mughal army in 1746. The government made the Rs. 12 crore campus to serve the memory of those men and also to keep alive the rich heritage of the state and Sikh people.

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Punjab has been a land of many great leaders, revolutionaries and also martyrs, we have had people like the great Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his General Hari Singh Nalwa. The list carries on till the time of freedom struggle that saw the likes of Bhagat Singh rise to the occasion. Punjab has seen many battles. There have been times in the past when the Sikhs came into grave danger of being killed all at once, one such occasion was the time when the Mughals went to take revenge of the death of Jaspat Rai and in turn massacred the Sikhs.

To glorify the sacrifice of those brave heart Sikh warriors who lost their lives in the battle, the government of Punjab has made a memorial. Standing in Kahnuwan Chhamb in the district of gurdaspur the monument has been linked to the suffrage of the people.

Spread in about 10 acres the monument was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal. The inauguration took place in November 2011. It is to remember the great warriors who fought the battle for more than two months. It is believed that around 11,000 people lost their lives during that time.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal made the announcement of opening Chhota Ghallughara memorial while he was at the opening of the Khalsa Heritage Complex, which has been dedicated to gurus.

Shiromani Akali Dal led government in the state did open the memorial centre shortly after. Spread in over 10 acre campus, has a 100 feet tall minar (tower). The memorial serves the memory of around 11,000 warriors and has a few buildings inside. This will work as a great way for letting the youth know the history of the state and about its great Sikhs.

It was a battle that was initiated by Lakhpat Rai who was the revenue minister of the Mughal Empire in 1746. To avenge the death of his brother, Jaspat Rai the former declared that he would not rest his head until he scourged the entire Sikh panth out of existence.

Lakhpat Rai took the help of the Mughal emperor in Lahore and summoned leaders from Multan, Bahawalpur and Jalandhar. All the Sikhs in Lahore were killed by Lakhpat Rai and then he went on to search for Sikhs who had reportedly taken shelter in the forest of Kahnuvan. The Sikh men gave a brilliant fight to the army of Lakhpat Rai.

Government’s idea of making a memorial shows their affection towards the rich history of the state and it gives tales of all the great men that have been born in Punjab. It shows how the SAD and BJP led government vales the sentiments of the people and cares for the rich history of the state.

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Amphibious buses, soon a reality in Punjab

The government has taken fresh initiatives to promote tourism in the state, particularly in the areas around the water bodies which so far have not been on the favourite list of visitors who visit Punjab. One of the main projects which may be first of its kind in the region is the introduction of amphibious buses which would soon be seen in the state water bodies. The buses would be part of a new ambitious project of Punjab government which is aimed at promoting water tourism in the state.

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The announcement to start amphibious buses was made by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal during a massive rally in Bathinda in the presence of Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari last year. While making an announcement the deputy chief minister had claimed “the buses will ride on water and on the road and passengers can catch fish while riding on the bus.”

Though the opposition and critics are apprehensive and have expressed reservations over feasibility of such projects, the government’s detailed modalities coupled with the conviction of deputy chief minister is likely to make the innovative project a big success.

Junior Badal has even on his official Facebook page, has declared that the amphibious buses will be on track soon.

Details of the project   

To start with the amphibious buses would be introduced in Harike wetlands at the confluence of the Beas and Sutlej rivers.  The Harike wetland spreads into the three districts of Amritsar, Ferozepur and Kapurthala and covers an area of 4100 hectares.
As per the plans, after offering sightseeing tour on land at Harike headworks, the dual-mode bus would take the visitors to lake so as to provide them glimpses of the rich biodiversity of Harike wildlife sanctuary. With an area of over 8,600 hectares, the wetland around Harike is an important abode for the birds migrating from across the international frontiers and is a centre of attraction for the bird lovers. Notably, Indus Dolphin too was recently sighted in the Beas river in the water body. And Now Punjab Government is also planning to release 10 gharials in the Harike wetlands as the first step to increase their numbers and to attract more tourists.

Status of the project
Already the tenders asking manufacturers to provide one such dual-mode bus have been floated by the Punjab Heritage Tourism Promotion Board (PHTPB). The department has also invited representatives of manufacturing firms to give a presentation about various features of their bus units and how they can be useful for the purpose for the state.

About the duel mode bus
The amphibian bus which would be well equipped with indispensable accessories like life-jackets, and other techniques would have capacity to carry 60 persons including 10 children. The estimated cost of each bus is between Rs 1.5 to Rs 2 crore. According to government officials, the decision to purchase more buses would be taken after evaluating the performance of the first unit.

The Government is hopeful of the success of the scheme and is expecting hat the project would put Punjab on the world map from tourism point of view.

A few indirect projects
In fact travel by rivers, which is being taken by the union government in a big way is expected to help improving the road infrastructure in the state. “I have asked the Punjab Government to work out removal of canals on Satluj and Beas for waterways involving hovercrafts. There are 101 waterway projects under consideration to ease road and rail travel in the country,” said Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, during his visit to Punjab last year.

Punjab government meanwhile is hopeful that with the initiative would go a long way in promoting the water tourism in the state.