Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh Sunday laid the foundation stone of the state’s first dedicated sports university and various other development works, including a bus stand, in Patiala.
The Maharaja Bhupinder Singh Sports University, being established in memory of CM’s grandfather Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, will be developed at a total cost Rs 500 crore, of which Rs 60 crore will be invested in the initial phase for the development of academic and administrative blocks and hostels on the campus, according to a government statement.
It was 129th birth anniversary Maharaja Bhupinder Singh on Sunday.
“The university will help in the scientific development of sportspersons,” Amarinder said, adding that he wanted to see Punjab develop as a “sports hub and its sportsmen and coaches equipped with scientific knowledge”.
He thanked the panchayat and people of Sidhuwal who contributed land free of cost for the sports university. The residents of Sidhuwal had earlier donated land for a law university and have also offered another 100 kilas for other projects, the CM said, announcing a Rs 50-lakh grant for the village.
Amarinder expressed hope that staff and students will be able to move into the campus by 2022. “They will benefit immensely from the university’s multiple courses, many of which are adopted from UK’s Loughborough University,” he said, adding that state government will provide more funds to the university for speedy completion of the construction work.
Addressing the event, Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Sodhi said the university will change the future of aspiring sportspersons. “The government will provide jobs to the people of Sidhuwal and education to their children,” he said, adding that the university will put Patiala on the global map as a sports hub. He suggested declaring the village, with its two major universities, as a model gram panchayat.
Patiala MP Maharani Preneet Kaur described the university as the need of the hour and said it would help encourage sportsmen and wean youngsters away from drugs.
University Vice-Chancellor Lt Gen Cheema disclosed that 120 students of the total capacity of 142 had already been admitted for 2021-22 academic session.
Talking about the new hi-tech bus stand, Amarinder said it would fulfil a long-standing demand of the people in view of the city’s growth over the past 10-15 years. Expected to be completed in around 15 months at a cost of Rs 65 crore, it will supplement the existing bus stand. An internal mobility plan was being drawn up to provide connectivity between both, as well as with other parts of the city, he added.
Later, launching a Rs 503-crore water supply project, as part of phase-II of Urban Environment Improvement Programme (UEIP), the CM said it would help provide 24X7 clean drinking water to the people of Patiala, whose population has grown to 5 lakh and is expected to go up to 9 lakh by 2050. Water will be taken from the Bhakra Main Line Canal through the existing Patiala Navigation Channel, he said, adding that the water works will be constructed in Ablowal. The project is estimated to be completed in 3 years, he said, adding that the operator will have an operation and maintenance contract of 10 years.
Underlining the need to preserve Patiala’s rich heritage and promote heritage tourism here, he said the area around Qila Mubarak was being developed as a heritage street at a cost of Rs 43 crore. Work on the street is expected to be completed by December 2021, he said, adding that the renovation of Rajindra Tank (with fountains and lights) will be completed soon and will be dedicated to the people in December. Another project in progress is the development of Mohindra Kothi (old building) as a museum, where the famous medal gallery collection will be shifted.
Amarinder also announced several other projects to be initiated soon, including rejuvenation of Patiala and Chhotti Nadi at a cost around Rs. 200 crore.
CM also handed over keys to few selected beneficiaries of the EWS housing scheme constructed by PDA at Haji Majra (next to the Cantonment). Of the 174 flats constructed there, 124 have been allotted today.
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