With financial assistance from World Bank, Punjab Province recently conceived a plan worth Rs 5.8 billion to develop seven Sikh gurudwaras and one Buddhist monastery in its attempt to boost religious tourism that would help generate revenue of at least $1.85 billion each year. Central Development Party approved the project after seeking permission from the federal government and the state would soon negotiate with World Bank to receive financial assistance for the project.
According to sources, World Bank would offer financial assistance worth Rs 4 billion while the remaining Rs 1.8 billion would have to be arranged via public-private partnerships. The plan, which would be executed in seven districts across Punjab Province, is expected to be completed by December 2018. The project hopes to boost religious tourism by offering Sikhs in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada electronic visa, quality accommodation, food, transport, guides and enhanced security. At first, the project hopes to draw at least 50,000 Sikhs every year.
The structures that Punjab Province would include in its project are Gurudwara Janam Asthan and Bal Lila Sahib, Gurudwara Sacha Sauda, Gurudwara Tambu Sahib, Gurudwara Rori Sahib, Gurudwara Dera Sahib, Gurudwara Darabar Sahib, Gurudwara Punja Sahib and Buddhist Stupa. As part of the project, Punjab Province would offer land for the construction of Sikh Heritage and Cultural Museum, a three star hotel in Sheikhupura and 220 guest rooms near all the gurudwaras put together. All major roads connecting these gurudwaras to the nearest railway junctions and towns would be upgraded and widened while services at the departure and arrival lounges of Lahore Airport would be improved as well.
A number of surveys carried out by World Bank show that if gurudwaras were to be developed in a professional manner, they could help the tourism industry flourish, generating approximately $1.85 billion each year from Sikhs alone.
Photo Credits: Sikh24.com