The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) did not forget to commemorate the 307th martyrdom day of 40 ‘muktas’ (liberated ones). It organised a three-day event that concluded at Gurdwara Shaheedganj today. But, what the top Sikh body failed to remember is initiating projects for revamping the memorials dedicated to muktas. Both the SGPC and the state government have not been paying any attention towards the memorials. When The Tribune team visited the memorials, it found them lying in a state of neglect
Built in 2005 near the District Administrative Complex in Muktsar, the Mukt-e-Minar is one of the memorials dedicated to the 40 muktas. It boasts of having the tallest ‘khanda’ (81-ft) in the world. The monument, built at a cost of Rs 5 crore, has been gathering dust for want of proper upkeep. As a result, hardly any visitor can be seen here these days. The slow pace of construction on the road connecting to it is also proving to be a major hurdle in attracting visitors. In the lack of cleanliness, the rings girdled with the ‘khanda’ are now getting covered with rust.
The prestigious four gates of the city, got constructed in 2004-05 by the state government through Markfed on all entry points, named after Sikh martyrs Bhai Daan Singh, Bhai Maha Singh, Mata Bhag Kaur and Bhai Langar Singh are also in dire need of immediate repair.
Stones of the gates have fallen. Still, no attention has been paid towards the issue even though all notice them while entering or leaving the city.
Mai Bhago Park
The construction of this heritage park, an initiative of the local Municipal Council, was first scheduled to be completed before March 31, 2011. It was later deferred to this year’s Maghi Mela. But, the park has not been completed even after a delay of more than a year. Though a huge statue of Mai Bhago sitting on a horse has been installed in the centre of the park to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 90 lakh and a war like scene has also been created after installing a number of statues of muktas in a corner, the dilly-dallying attitude of the authorities concerned has been creating hurdles in its progress further.
The foundation stone of the martyrs’ memorial, dedicated to Mai Bhago and 40 muktas, was laid by the then Shiromani Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal and former SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur on May 4, 2005, on the Tibbi Sahib road. But even after seven years, nothing has come up here.
During his recent visit to Muktsar on the occasion of Maghi, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar had said that the construction of the martyrs’ memorial would be completed before next Maghi. However, a committee, headed by Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Dr Jaspal Singh, formed for the purpose has so far met only once.
What officials say
Muktsar Deputy Commissioner Paramjit Singh said, "The matter as to why there was a delay in completion of various projects will be taken up with the officials concerned." About the ‘muktas’
Forty 'muktas' (liberated ones) were those brave Sikhs who laid down their lives while fighting the Mughal army near a pond called Khidrane Di Dhabh (presently Muktsar) in 1705.
Archit Watts, Tribune News Service, Muktsar, May 3