Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to clear his government's proposal for launching projects worth Rs 937 crore to pay befitting tributes to ninth Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur, whose 400th 'Prakash Purab' is being celebrated this year.
The chief minister said the proposal sent by the state government includes development of Sri Anandpur Sahib as a Smart City.
Participating virtually in a high-level national committee meeting convened by the prime minister to finalise plans for celebration of the 400th Prakash Purab (birth anniversary), he said, "We are all fortunate to celebrate this great event in our lifetimes and I urge Modi ji to ensure that this historic event is commemorated not only at national but at a global level."
Amarinder Singh said Guru Tegh Bahadur, also known as "Hind Di Chadar", stands as a shining symbol of the country's great pluralistic tradition and secularism, and his supreme sacrifice – 'sis diya par sirr na diya' - forms an important part of India's history.
The chief minister said he was "blessed" as during his present tenure he had got the opportunity to be part of the grand celebrations of the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh and the 550th Prakash Purab of Guru Nanak Dev also.
"Even during my last tenure, I was fortunate to be part of the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib ji," he said.
Briefing Modi on the memorandum sent to the Centre in this regard, Amarinder Singh said his government plans to duly recognise the towns and villages associated with the life of Guru Sahib in the state by upgrading their infrastructure.
Besides the city of Amritsar, the town of Sri Anandpur Sahib and Baba Bakala are significant in this regard, he said.
In addition, he said that there are 78 villages in the state graced by the guru.
The chief minister said the proposal sent by the state government includes projects for development of infrastructure in and around Sri Anandpur Sahib, Amritsar and Baba Bakala, rejuvenation of ponds and traditional water bodies for water conservation in 78 Punjab villages that were visited by the guru and setting up Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur School of Textile Technology and Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Institute of Handicrafts at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and Sathiala, Baba Bakala, respectively.
He urged the Union government to release a special commemorative stamp on this occasion.
Amarinder Singh suggested that the commemorative events should be held all across the country, as well as at all Indian missions abroad, in order to carry the powerful message of Guru Tegh Bahadur's life.
He informed Modi that the details of the main programme on May 1 are being finalised, keeping in mind the COVID situation in the country and particularly in Punjab.
He thanked the prime minister and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for making elaborate plans for celebrations of this historic event across the country.
"I'm grateful to you for giving such prominence to this event, as normally it is left to the state or communities to manage such celebrations," Amarinder Singh said while appreciating Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar's assurance of organising befitting celebrations in his state too.
Besides Modi and Shah, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge also participated in the virtual meeting.
The high-level national committee was constituted by the Union government on October 24 last year to approve policies, plans and programmes related to the commemoration of the 400th Prakash Purab of Guru Tegh Bahadur.
The committee comprises 70 members with the prime minister as its chairman.