AMRITSAR: June 30, 2012: An important meeting to create an “Eco Amritsar” took place in the city today bringing together some 200 representatives of Sikh religious bodies, city administrators, environmentalists, educationists and business leaders to make commitments to make the entire city eco-friendly.
This diverse gathering was put together EcoSikh on its 3rd anniversary this month.
Guru Ram Dass, the 4th Sikh Guru, founded Amritsar in 1577 and it is now the 29th largest city in India. It is also a site of major religious tourism attracting 100,000 pilgrims daily from all over the world, to visit the Golden Temple which is the holiest temple in Sikhism.
Dr. Rajwant Singh, President of EcoSikh said, “We are excited that so many major stakeholders like heads of religious bodies, educational institutions, hospitals, builders, industries, NGOs, shopping malls and students groups have devised plans for a major awareness drive and reducing energy consumption. This certainly will help relieve the pressure on the city’s natural resources which has increased with the recent surge of pilgrims.”
The SGPC, which runs the management of the Golden Temple, has announced it will celebrate the city’s foundation day in June every year and will commit to organic farming in the lands associated with Gurdwaras in Amritsar district.
Other institutions and establishments – including business group Celebration Mall, Chief Khalsa Diwan which runs a large number of educational bodies, Durgiana Mandir, and DAV educational groups sent representatives to support this effort.
The city administration has also pledged to enforce rainwater harvesting in all government buildings and institutions as well as in establishments of more than 500 sq. metres in area.
In addition, a plan will be devised for collaborative effort by the city and Sikh holy man Baba Sewa Singh for tree plantation across the city to be run under the auspices of the DC of Amritsar. Authorities are considering adding 50 buses in next five years to help reduce pollution by boosting public transport.
Bhai Manjit Singh, Chairman of Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) notified that, “PEDA had already installed a solar power plant at the Golden Temple and would soon be putting up solar steam cooking system which would cut down LPG consumption of the shrine to half. He said they had planned to generate 10 per cent of the city’s power requirement from solar energy.”
Baba Sewa Singh ji said, “It will be our good fortune if we can make this Guru ki Nagri green. My services are available.”
Gunbir Singh, Secretary of Khalsa College Charitable Society, a prominent 120 year educational institution with a large 300 acre complex in Amritsar, announced that they had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with EcoSikh pledging to focus on plantations, water and energy audits and to involve students to explore educational projects and internships.
Sanjay Sachdeva, President of AIPL and creator of the Green City project in Amritsar, said, “we are committed to support and become partners in this endeavor.”
EcoSikh has proposed a six point agenda for the campaign in which sections of civil society and the administration in Amritsar make commitments towards sustainable infrastructure, conserving water, recycling and better waste management, alternate energy usage, introducing public transport, increasing green cover/ open spaces, and also sharing information on greening strategies.
Ravneet Singh, India Project Manager of EcoSikh, said, “Amritsar has lot of talent and energy and this kind of movement will become an outlet for citizen-based environmental activism. Amritsar sends a powerful message of peace and harmony and combining this with environmental angle has an important relevance as humanity is facing a dire future.”
EcoSikh shared its three years achievements through a short movie at this event which was very much praised by the viewers. Watch the EcoSikh video on YouTube.
Watch pictures from event at Flickr