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Funds promise for 2016 Sikh fest
- Gurdwara managing committee requests govt to remove encroachment

Chief minister Nitish Kumar has promised the Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib managing committee financial assistance to make the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh in 2016 a grand success.

Nitish’s promise came during the 346th birth anniversary celebrations of the 10th Sikh Guru on Friday at the Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib gurdwara.

The Sikh Guru’s 348th and 349th birth anniversary celebrations would be held in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

The chief minister added that the government would also look into the problem of encroachment around the gurdwara in Patna City where visitors and devotees from around the world come round the year.

R.S. Jeet, the vice-president of Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib managing committee, said: “People of Bihar are very fortunate that Sikh Guru and philosopher Guru Gobind Singh was born here in Patna. This place has become one of the most important tourist destinations in the country. I would request the state government to improve the condition of the area around the Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib. Tourists feel uncomfortable when they have to move along the cramped road leading to the gurdwara. Many vendors have illegally occupied the surroundings of the temple premises and I would request the state government to kindly remove the encroachments because it is a big hurdle for the tourists.”

The general secretary, Sardar Charanjeet Singh, said the committee has also requested the chief minister to shift the Chowk police station near the gurdwara so that visitors can be accommodated at the same spot.

On Friday, at least 50,000 people from the Sikh community attended the prakashotsav (birth anniversary celebrations). The committee members said around 250 people from US, Canada, Singapore and London also attended the celebrations.

Secretary Mahendra Singh Chabbra said: “The managing committee has taken great care of the arrangements for the tourists who have come to attend the prakashotsav. We have booked some government and private schools in Patna City for their accommodation. We have also booked some community halls. We have installed 22 closed-circuit television cameras across the city as a part of the security.”

At Friday’s celebrations, pradhan granthi Gyani Iqbal Singh presented saropa to the chief minister.