Washington gurudwara on verge of sell-off for lack of $2mn

The National Gurdwara, close to the White House in Washington, and may have to be auctioned off soon if funds for maintenance are not forthcoming. The Sikh worshipping place will go bankrupt if it cannot return a loan of a mere $2 million (Rs8 crore).

The Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which governs Sikh religious affairs and is a major political force in Punjab - one of the richest Indian states - has not responded to appeals from the National Gurudwara for this relatively paltry sum - even though its management offered the SGPC full control of the gurudwara back in 1999.

To bail out the gurdwara from financial mess, the management in 2009 had offered to take control of the gurdwara on payment of the loan. But till now the committee has not been able to dole out the required funds. 

Gurmeet Singh Bedi, representing the SGPC in the matter, told The Times of India over phone from Washington on Friday that the gurdwara, inaugurated in 2005, was constructed at a cost of around $7 to $8 million; but "Due to low turnout of devotees, the income of the gurdwara is not enough to pay back the loan, and so the management offered it to SGPC."

However, he offered no solution. 

The National Gurdwara website has also sought financial help from adherents. ''We need your help, the National Gurdwara has been going through some financial problems,'' reads a posting on its website.