Amritsar, Punjab: Aiming to check pollution around the Golden Temple, the SGPC (Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee) has decided to further slash the duration of fireworks at the holy shrine this time on Bandi Chhor Diwas (Diwali) on November 3. Besides, paper balloons with lights would be released.
Talking to The Tribune, SGPC secretary Manjeet Singh and Darbar Sahib manager Partap Singh said the fireworks at the Golden Temple on Diwali this year will take place for only 10 to 12 minutes, which is three minutes less than last year.
The duration used to be half an hour prior to 2011 when the SGPC decided to curtail it down to half.
The SGPC said it was looking forward to the Sikh Sangat’s response to their initiative of paper balloons with lights as they were keen on minimising pollution around the shrine. They said these balloons had been tried earlier too at the shrine.
At present, the SGPC has been using high-altitude fireworks even though it has been looking for smokeless crackers. It had also tried a laser show once at Anandpur Sahib, but it didn’t meet the expectations of the Sikh Sangat. In 2011, the SGPC had reduced the time of fireworks for the first time. The move had come after the Punjab Pollution Control Board advised it to ban bursting of firecrackers at the Golden Temple Complex. However, the SGPC had said it could not discontinue with the practice altogether as it was the traditional way to celebrate the occasion and the devotees sentiments were attached to it.
In an effort to curb pollution, the SGPC has already stopped ground display of fireworks.
Concern over pollution
The high level of pollution is causing harm to miniature paintings and gold plating at the shrine, besides leading to corrosion and blackening of white marble. Its adverse effect can be seen on the gold plating on the outer walls of Akal Takht. Though the local administration in the past has initiated various measures like banning coal-run hearths being used by goldsmiths and providing LPG connections to them, still a lot needs to be done to make the vicinity of the shrine smoke-free.
Autos also to blame
While the number of private vehicles plying in the area is also high, rickety auto-rickshaws running on adulterated fuel also pose a threat to the architectural marvel that the Golden Temple is.
The SGPC too is initiating measures like reducing the duration of fireworks on occasions like Diwali and modernising the kitchen alongside its langar hall in a bid to curb pollution.
Source: The Tribune