THE PUNJAB tourism department has said it has no objection to serving of liquor inside the historical 18th century Sikh fort Gobindgarh in Amritsar. The fort is maintained by Bollywood actor Deepa Sahi’s Mayanagri One. Earlier this year, the fort was opened to the public for the first time since Independence. It was originally constructed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and is named after the 10th Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh. The renovation of the fort was touted as one of its achievements by the previous SAD-BJP government.
That government’s contract with Mayanagri (firm) for maintenance of the fort had received flak from activists.
The fort is open not just for for tourists — personal functions can be also organised inside fort as it also has a restaurant. There were reports that liquor was being served during such functions.
Navjot Singh Randhawa, director, cultural affairs, archaeology and museums, Punjab, “Liquor can be served inside Gobindgarh fort. There is a restaurant and it could be served there. Construction of a five-star hotel is also in process. So everything that is available inside a hotel would also be available inside the fort.”
When asked if it could hurt sentiments because fort is linked to Sikh heritage, he said, “It is a tourist spot and people from all over the world will come there… So it should be seen in that way.”
On Saturday the fort was closed for a day on account of a personal function for some tourists and the tourism department has issued a mild warning to Mayanagri to avoid such closures in future.
“We have issued warning to the organisers. We have told them that no such events should be held in future that calls for baring tourists’ entry. But then at some point, there could be a situation where we have to limit the entry of tourists inside the fort. For instance, we cannot allow more than 1,000 person inside the fort at a time. Sometimes, it is also about management of the visitors inside the fort.”
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