January 12, 2014; EcoSikh is proactively spearheading a movement to clean and make Sikh pilgrimage sites in India pollution free. In keeping with this, EcoSikh has worked with UK based Alliance of Religions and Conservation on faith based environmental activism and facilitated the inclusion of Amritsar and Nanded in an international Green Pilgrimage Network, which has major pilgrim cities of World religions included in it. Hazur Sahib, situated in Nanded on the banks of River Godavari, is considered one of the five most important spiritual sites for Sikhs. This is where Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikhs’ Holy book, was given enthronement by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the last Sikh Guru. EcoSikh has accordingly given priority to target Nanded for the Environmental work. In keeping with this, EcoSikh’s dynamic President, Dr. Rajwant Singh, has joined hands with another International organization, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) which has over 1200 cities & towns in 84 countries across the Globe as its members. ICLEI which works with local governments providing them technical consulting, training etc in implementation of sustainable objectives at local level will undertake the environmentally sustainable planning for the city in coordination with Gurudwara authorities and the local administration.
EcoSikh President, Dr. Rajwant Singh, said, at a Media meet, “Nanded receives over 25,000 pilgrims on an average day to visit historical Sikh religious sites, which puts a lot of pressure on all the environment resources like water, air, energy & transport, hence it is important for all of us to make this city survive environmentally for generations in future. Adds Dr Singh, “We also have to sensitize the pilgrims to play a role in preserving the natural resources of this site.”
EcoSikh undertook a reconnaissance trip recently along with Nanded Gurudwara Board members & ICLEI officials of Takhat Shri Hazursahib and other historic Gurudwaras in Nanded to understand the extent of the environmental problem.
The Gurdwara board shared the top issues and challenges faced by the pilgrimage site and its surroundings. “Power and water shortages are our major concerns but cleaning of river Godavari would still be our top priority, which is highly polluted with city sewage”, said Superintendent of Hazur Sahib Board, Sardar Ranjit Singh Chiragia.
During this observatory tour, EcoSikh along with Nanded Gurdwara Board coordinated a series of meetings for ICLEI with District Collector, Dheeraj Kumar, Dy Municipal Commissioner Ratnakar Waghmare, Additional Commissioner, RL Gagrani, Dy Mayor, Anand Shakarrao Chavan and all the top planners and officials of the Nanded Waghala Municipal Corporation.
ICLEI South Asia’s Deputy Director, Emani Kumar said, “I am very much impressed with the commitment of Nanded City authorities. We will definitely create an Action Plan for Nanded and identify all available national and international sources of funding for this sacred city.” Major issues to be included in the action plan are: Restoration of Godavari, Sanitation and Sewage System, City Mobility Plan, Renewable Energy.
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