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Thursday, February 25, 1999
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19 cr released for tercentenary
Tribune News Service

ANANDPUR SAHIB, Feb 24 — Many of the VIP invitees failed to turn up at the meeting of the National Implementation Committee for tercentenary celebrations of the birth of Khalsa here today. In the absence of Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Human Resources Development Minister and chairman of the Implementation Committee, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the Punjab Chief Minister and Vice-chairman of the committee presided.

Other absentees included Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, Dr Manmohan Singh, Mr O.P. Chautala, Mr Harkishan Surjeet, Mr G.S. Tohra and the Chief Minister of Haryana, U.P. and J&K. The Haryana Chief Minister was represented by Mr Mani Ram Godara, Home Minister.

On behalf of the Government of India, Mr R.V. Vaidyanatha Ayyar, Union Secretary for Cultural Affairs, presented a draft of Rs 19 crores to Mr Badal for the tercentenary celebrations.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Badal expressed gratitude to the Union Government for releasing the first instalment of Rs 19 crore of a total of Rs 50 crore. The centre had allotted a total grant of Rs 100 crore for the tercentenary celebrations of which Rs 50 crore was allotted to Punjab. Mr Badal also stressed upon the need for early release of the remaining amount.

The Chief Minister said that preparations for these celebrations were in full swing and work on various basic amenities projects was in progress. He said the martial sports academy, being set up here at the cost of Rs 8.50 crore, would be functional in three months. Work on a three star hotel, a kisan bhavan, and memorial gates was also continuing as per schedule.

Mr Ayyar, the Union Cultural Affair Secretary, said tercentenary celebration guidelines had already been sent to the states. The governments of UP, Karnataka, Orissa and Gujarat had been requested to construct suitable memorials in memory of 'punj piars' at Hastinapur, Bidar, Puri and Dwarka. Efforts were also being made to construct a memorial at Lahore through the ministry of External Affairs. These memorials would be named after the 'punj piaras'.

A postage stamp and a set of commemorative gold and silver coins will also be released and books and literature in different languages on the life and philosophy of Guru Gobind Singh will be published by different state governments.

Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, said that five grand marches from the respective places of 'punj piaras' namely Hastinapur, Bidar, Puri, Dwarka and Lahore would reach Kiratpur Sahib on April 10 and will depart for Anandpur Sahib on April 12.

Mr Mani Ram Godara, the Haryana Home Minister, said that the Haryana Government had already constituted a state-level committee for the celebrations and would propagate the message of Guru Gobind Singh as per its guidelines.

Among those, who attended the meeting were Mr R.S. Mann, Punjab Chief Secretary; Mr R.L. Sudhir, Additional Secretary, Cultural Affairs, Government of India; Eminent Intellectuals including Dr K.P. Aggarwal and Dr Devinder Swarup; Mr G.S. Cheema, Punjab Cultural Affairs Secretary; Mr J.S. Kesar, Sectretary, Punjab Public Relations, and Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, Principal Secretary to C.M., Punjab.

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