FORMER PRIME minister Manmohan Singh Friday cautioned people against “attempts by communal forces to divide the nation” and exhorted them to follow the principles and teachings of (first Sikh Guru) Guru Nanak Dev Ji that have “great relevance today, when hatred was being spread on the basis of caste and religion.”
Singh was speaking at an event to mark the year-long celebrations of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev next year. The first Sikh Guru’s 549th birth anniversary was celebrated Friday.
He along with Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore and Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh also jointly laid the foundation stones for 26 development projects worth Rs 150 crore at the historic Sultanpur Lodhi town in Kapurthala for upgrade of infrastructure in the three historic towns of Sultanpur Lodhi, Dera Baba Nanak and Batala. A state-level function was organised at Sultanpur Lodhi Friday.
During his address to the gathering after paying obeisance at historical Ber Sahib gurdwara, where Guru Nanak Dev had spent around 14 years of his life, he expressed hope that all irrespective of their caste and creed would “rise above the petty considerations of communalism and hatred to celebrate the event in a befitting manner.”
SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal presented Siropa to senior Congress leaders, including Manmohan Singh, Amarinder Singh, PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar and others when they paid obiesance at Gurudwara Ber Sahib.
On the occasion, Captain Amarinder, who also announced projects and welfare schemes worth around Rs 3,312 crore to facilitate pilgrims and to commemorate the historic occasion, also launched a tree plantation drive to plant 550 trees in every village throughout the state in the next one year at a total cost of Rs 10.5 crore.
”Today,considerations of caste, creed, inequality are again rampant in our society,” Captain lamented, adding that “We need to rise above these on the path shown by Guru Sahib.” If Punjab has to regain its number one position in the country, we need to maintain bhai-chara and saanjh and not get divided on different lines,” asserted the Chief Minister.
The CM announced the release of 32 prisoners and remission of term for another 2,952 to mark the occasion.
The foundation stones laid today related to 3 High-Level bridges and two foot overbridges (Rs 24 crore), High Level bridge on creek of Beas River (Rs 13 crore), new rest house at Sultanpur Lodhi (Rs 5 crore), widening of plan roads (Rs. 42 crores), special repair of plan roads (Rs 38 crore). All these works are expected to be completed by July next year.
Apart from this an Institute of Inter-faith Studies at GNDU, Amritsar (Rs 510 crore), Pind Babe Nanak Da museum, Bebe Nanki College for Girls in Village Mahablipur, a Government Medical College and Super-Speciality Hospital at Village Kotli Nangal in Gurdaspur for Rs 400 crore, in PPP mode and Sri Guru Nanak Devji Centre for Invention, Innovation, Incubation & Training (CIIIT) will be established at PTU at Kapurthala.
Lining and cleaning of Kali Bein, to be undertaken in association with Sant Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal.
The Chief Minister has also announced a Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana, under which 43 lakh families would be brought under insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh at a cost of Rs 371 crore, with effect from January 1, 2019.
Also, 36 villages and 11 nagar panchayats visited by Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji have been identified for development and Rs 150 crore will be set aside in this regard.