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Why are all roads in Amritsar smooth?
Onkar Singh in Amritsar | August 30, 2004 21:18 IST
Suddenly, there is a flurry of activity in Amritsar.
The roads, which could compete with Moon's craters, have almost overnight turned into silky smooth zoom lanes. Startled and surprised in equal measure, motorists are excitedly hitting the pedal.
And next week the holy city will see over 5 million visitors streaming in.
What is happening in Amritsar?
An important slice of history is going to be remembered and celebrated. That slice happens to be the 400th anniversary celebrations of the installation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
The change in the city becomes evident the moment passengers get down from their trains and buses in railway stations and bus stands.
Saffron flags mixed with the blue flags representing the Shiromani Akali Dal greet the visitors to the holy city on their arrival.
"I have been to Amritsar a number of times before but I have never seen arrangements like this before," said Mohan Singh of Delhi, who is putting up in a make shift camp in a private college in Amritsar.
The locals are in fact overwhelmed by the response of the district administration, which has worked day and night to ensure that the city remains neat and clean during the celebrations.
Delegates from the UK, US and other countries, including some from Pakistan have already arrived.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has made special arrangements for their stay and booked adequate number of rooms in various hotels in the city to look after their NRI guests.
"We have left nothing to chance and we would take care of our guests no matter whatever the costs," a senior functionary of the SGPC told rediff.com
Sources said the celebrations will cost Rs 100 crore, which would be pooled in jointly by the state government, Shiromani Akali Dal and SGPC.
All the Gurdwaras in the city have been given fresh coat of paint and are illuminated during the night. Over 500,000 devotees have already visited the Golden Temple during the first three days of the celebrations.
"At any point of time more then ten thousand people are there in the parikarma of Harmandir Sahib," claimed a SGPC jathedar.
Over 8,000 Punjan Police personnel will provide security cover to President A P J Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh when they visit Amritsar on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
A three tier security cover has already been put in place and plain clothesmen are busy sanatising the Golden Temple complex.
Director General of the Police A A Siddiqi inspected the arrangements, which are being monitored by an officer of the level of Inspector General of Police. "We are satisfied with the arrangements," a top official of the Punjab Police told rediff.com
More reports from Punjab
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