Follow positive agenda, Sukhbir Singh Badal asks Navjot Singh Sidhu
In a statement, the SAD president said the amphibious bus project which had been scrapped by Sidhu was not his project but that of the people of the state
Former deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday asked Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu to follow a positive agenda for the holistic development of tourism in the state and develop infrastructure and facilities to give it a further boost, instead of "dismantling" projects in the name of viability.
In a statement, the SAD president said the amphibious bus project which had been scrapped by Sidhu was not his project but that of the people of the state.
Asserting that tourism projects were not established on the basis of viability, the SAD leader said if that was the case then Sidhu should have checked the viability of the Jang-e-Azadi memorial while releasing Rs 25 crore for the project which was established by former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
"As much as Rs 200 crore was spent by the SAD-BJP government on the Heritage Walk leading to Shri Darbar Sahib. Should we charge people for using this road now," he asked.
He said by the same logic Sidhu should study the viability of the Mohali and Bathinda airports established by the SAD-BJP government and scrap them. "He (Sidhu) should also study if releasing money for sewerage and water supply is viable," he said.
The SAD president said as far as the amphibious bus project was concerned, it had opened up the wetland to tourists for the first time.
"Instead of encouraging it and letting it come into its own, Sidhu has scrapped the unique project and wants to introduce 50-year-old facilities such as pedal boats now. Needless to say it is risky to introduce pedal boats in a river. The bus was introduced at Harike following international tourism trends but Sidhu in his hatred for all projects initiated by the Badal family has stymied all chances of Harike emerging on the world tourism map," he alleged.
Yesterday, in a bid to minimise loss on 'Harike Cruise' project worth Rs 8.62 crore, Sidhu announced decision to auction the amphibious bus.
Describing it as an "ill-conceived" project, Sidhu had said the Harike Cruise project was run in Harike wetland in Tarn Taran for just 10 days, leading to meagre earning of Rs 70,000 to the state exchequer which worked out to be just five per cent of the project cost.
"It ran for 10 days as it was stopped by you (Sidhu) simply because I started it," Sukhbir Singh Badal said.
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