The Malika Da Butt roundabout, close the Golden Temple in Amritsar, will soon have a statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh – the famed Punjab ruler whose kingdom was annexed by the British soon after his death in 1839.
The roundabout once had the statue of Queen Victoria of England but was removed nearly 30 years ago by the Municipal Corporation and replaced with a fountain. Malika Da Butt, which translates to statue of the Queen, is a name that the MC, however, could not remove.
Now, a mammoth statue of the erstwhile Punjab ruler will be installed at the spot as part of the state government’s plan to beautify the 200 metre path to the Golden Temple. Four other statues – a memorial to martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Dr. B R Ambedkar, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s general Hari Singh Nalwa, priest of the Golden Temple during the Maharaja’s time Akali Phula Singh – have been planned too.
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has been taking keen interest in this beautification project and has made at least two visits to the project site every month since last November.
All five statutes hade been designed by a Jaipur-based firm.
According to sub-divisional officer (SDO), PWD Shivpreet Singh said that the department had to put up notices before the removal of the Ambedkar statue that once existed there, lest it hurt the sentiments of the people.
“The old statue was a small one. The one that has come up now is much taller,” he said.