Amritsar: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) decided to demolish the oldest ‘Guru Ram Das Serai’ in Sri Darbar Sahib complex and build a new one in its place.
The decision reportedly taken at the SGPC’s executive meeting held at Takht Sri Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda on April 20.
According to Hindustan Times, in June 2016, the SGPC, during the tenure of former president Avtar Singh Makkar , had proposed to rebuild the serai, which was constructed in 1935 under kar sewa (voluntarily service). However, after Sikh bodies, especially the Sikh Sadhbhawna Dal, led by former Sri Darbar Saihb Ragi Bhai Baldev Singh Wadala, showed resentment and held a protest outside the SGPC office against the move, the SGPC decided to drop the plan.
Confirming the move, the SGPC’s spokesperson Diljit Singh Bedi said the serai is too old and its condition has deteriorated. “In such a situation, rebuilding of the sarai is the need of the hour. The blueprint of the plan is already underway,” he said. He said the move is relevant in vie of the security of the devotees, whose number is increasing day by day.
Officials of the building department of the SGPC said that the 83-year-old serai, spread over the around 45,000 square feet area, has 250 rooms. However, around 100 rooms are being used be the SGPC as stores and a few for administrative purpose.
This is the only serai of Sri Darbar Saihb which provides accommodation to devotee free of cost. So, this serai caters to the ordinary devotees, who cannot afford to book paid rooms in other serais. It has a huge courtyard, which is also used to accommodate the sangat when all the rooms are booked.