It’s Burj Al-Arab but not as you know it: Indian hotel replica a hit with tourist

A replica of the iconic Burj Al-Arab in the UAE is attracting tourists in a village in Phagwara, Punjab. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 10 April 2019
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It’s Burj Al-Arab but not as you know it: Indian hotel replica a hit with tourist

  • ‘There is nothing else like this in Punjab’

NEW DELHI: Visitors to a luxury Indian farmhouse hotel might be forgiven for thinking they have landed in Dubai.
For the distinctive Koti village property in Phagwara in the northern Indian state of Punjab has been built to mirror the iconic Burj Al-Arab in the UAE.
The replica building, which is currently being renovated to house a restaurant, is the brainchild of architect and construction entrepreneur Rajinder Kumar and has become something of a tourist attraction in the area.
Kumar told Arab News that he came up with the idea after visiting Dubai in 2011-12. “I thought why not create the same design here as I’m an architect by profession and also do construction. I designed the whole edifice myself.”
It took him three years to construct the building. The real Burj Al-Arab stands more than 300 meters tall.
Tourist Mohan Lal said: “When I saw the building, I felt like I had reached Dubai. I will come back with my kids. There is nothing else like this in Punjab or India.”
Another visitor, Makhan Singh, from the Indian city of Jalandhar, said: “The rooms inside are good, and it is a very beautiful space. This is the pride of Punjab.”
Kumar said: “This area is a non-resident Indians (NRI) belt and many NRIs come here and like it. They take pictures of the interior and the outside and seem to really appreciate it.
“Some people have said that I might face legal problems (for copying the Burj Al-Arab design without permission) but I will deal with that if it happens.”
He added that there was a small replica of the Taj Mahal in Dubai which seemed to have been accepted without any problems.
Kumar has rented out the property to run it as a restaurant, which is expected to open in the next few months.


UN: Pro-government forces kill more Afghans than insurgents

Updated 29 min 12 sec ago
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UN: Pro-government forces kill more Afghans than insurgents

  • The report says 1,773 civilians were hurt or died in the first three months
  • This is a significant drop from the same period last year when 2,305 civilians were killed or wounded

KABUL, Afghanistan: Afghan and international forces had killed more civilians than insurgents in the first three months of the year, the UN announced Wednesday, the first time the deaths caused by the government and its allies exceeded their enemies.
Still it was insurgents who were responsible for the majority of dead and wounded civilians combined, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan’s report, which was released in Kabul.
The report said 1,773 civilians were hurt or died in the first three months, which is a significant drop from the same period last year when 2,305 civilians were killed or wounded. Last year, many brutal suicide bombings were blamed for the high casualties.
Between Jan. 1 and March 31, the report said 581 civilians were killed and 1,192 were hurt. While insurgents caused a significant majority of the injuries, it was pro-government forces, including NATO, whch killed the majority of civilians. They were responsible for 305 civilian deaths, nearly half of them in airstrikes. The other heavy death toll took place during searches, according to the report.
At the same time, the government and international forces injured 303 civilians, compared to insurgent attacks that injured 736, the report said.
It’s the first time since 2009, when the UN began compiling statistics on civilian casualties, that the deaths as a result of actions by the government and its allies exceeded their enemies.
Most of the deaths were the result of aerial attacks, which were most often carried out by international forces. While the report does not identify the United States, it is the US that carries out airstrikes when called in to assist Afghan forces. It also follows a trend reported in last year’s UN annual report on civilian casualties, which showed a dramatic hike in civilian deaths by pro-government forces including more than 1,000 civilian casualties from airstrikes, the highest since the UN began keeping track 10 years ago.
In September last year, Masih Rahman’s entire family of 11 __ his wife, four daughters, three sons and four nephews __ were killed when a bomb flattened their home in Mullah Hafiz village in the Jaghatu district of Afghanistan’s central Maidan Wardak province.
“It’s not just my family, there are dozens of families just like mine who have been lost in bombings,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.
Rahman was working in Iran when he was told his entire family had been killed in an airstrike on his village, which is controlled by the Taliban. Rahman has sought redress from the United Nations. He has taken his case to Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission, which put out its own report on civilian casualties on Tuesday.
In that report, the commission said 11,212 civilians were hurt or wounded between March 31, 2018, and March 31 this year. In just the last 10 years of Afghanistan’s 17-year war, the commission said 75,316 Afghan civilians had died.
“A shocking number of civilians continue to be killed and maimed each day,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan.
He said that anti-government elements need to stop deliberately targeting civilians and using improvised bombs, which cause indiscriminate harm, while pro-government forces are called upon “to take immediate measures to mitigate the rising death toll and suffering caused by airstrikes and search operations.”