The Punjab government on Friday launched 26 development projects worth Rs 150 crore, including upgradation of infrastructure in the three historic towns of Sultanpur Lodhi, Dera Baba Nanak and Batala, to mark the launch of year-long celebrations of the 550th anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Punjab Governor V.P. Singh Badnore and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday laid the foundation stones for these projects at a state-level function organised in this town to mark the 549th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
Thirty-six villages and 11 Nagar Panchayats visited by Guru Nanak Dev during his life time (1469-1539) have been identified for development at a cost of Rs 150 crore, announced the Chief Minister.
The holy town of Sultanpur Lodhi, located in Kapurthala district - around 190 km from Chandigarh, is linked to the Guru's life and Sikh religious history.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who further announced projects and welfare schemes to the tune of Rs 3,312 crore to facilitate pilgrims and to commemorate the historic occasion, also launched a drive to plant 550 trees in the villages of the state in the next one year at a total cost of Rs 10.5 crore.
Mr Singh appealed to all Punjabis to plant at least one fruit tree each in their homes.
The Chief Minister announced the release of 32 prisoners and remission of term for another 2,952 to mark the occasion.
The Punjab government has also proposed to build a "Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji Marg". This will be be finalised by a group of experts from the Department of Religious Studies, which has been assigned the task to study and propose alignment for the same.
The Chief Minister has also announced a "Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana", under which 43 lakh families would be brought under insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh at a cost of Rs 371 crore from January 1, 2019.