Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today laid the foundation stone of the Rs 6.22 crore expanded viewers gallery at Joint Check Post (JCP) to Hussainiwala (Punjab). This would facilitate more tourists to visit the Indo-Pak border and witness the famous Retreat ceremony in which Border Security Force Jawans and Pakistan Rangers simultaneously lower the flags of their countries, ceremonially every evening.
Chidambaram said that the expanded viewers gallery could accommodate 3,000 viewers and the whole area around the gallery would be landscaped. He added that the new gallery would have a modern canteen, toilets and a children park to attract more tourists.
Earlier Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had sought Chidambaramâs intervention in opening the Hussainiwala border for trade link with Pakistan; and a special central infrastructure package for upgrading schools, colleges and roads in the border area.
Speaking on the occasion, Chidambaram said that he hoped for improvement of relations with Pakistan, in times to come and subsequent consolidation of trade links with the neighbouring country.
Reacting to the demand of Badal, the Union Home Minister hoped that "as things improve we could go more than half way to have better relations with Pakistan. Trade must resume with Pakistan. I sincerely hope it will come sooner than later".