Chandigarh: Nanded, a well known pilgrimage centre of Sikhs, will soon be a clean city with EcoSikh, an international ecology organisation that is based in the USA tying up with UK-based Alliance of Religions and Conservation for making the city environment friendly.
The city is famous for Hazur Sahib, situated on the banks of the Godavari, is considered one of the five most important spiritual sites for Sikhs. This is where Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs, was installed by Guru Gobind Singh, the last Sikh Guru. Dr Rajwant Singh, president of EcoSikh, while addressing a media conference, here today, said the Godavari was highly polluted with stench emanating from the water. He further said Nanded’s roads were also choked with traffic with lakhs of pilgrims visiting the place every year.
“We are working on faith-based environmental activism and have facilitated the inclusion of Amritsar and Nanded in the international Green Pilgrimage Network, which has major pilgrim cities of world religions included in it. EcoSikh has accordingly given priority to target Nanded for environmental work,” he said.
Singh said they had joined hands with another international organisation -International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), which has over 1,200 cities and towns in 84 countries across the globe as its members. ICLEI, which works with local governments providing them technical consulting, training in implementation of sustainable objectives at local level, will undertake the clean-up drive in coordination with gurdwara authorities and the local administration.
“Nanded receives over 25,000 pilgrims on an average day, which puts a lot of pressure on all the environment resources such as water, air, energy and transport. Hence, it is important for all of us to reduce pollution here for our future generations. We also have to sensitise the pilgrims to play a role in preserving the natural resources of this site,” he said.
EcoSikh undertook a reconnaissance trip recently along with Nanded Gurdwara Board members and ICLEI officials of Takht Sri Hazur Sahib and other historic gurdwaras in Nanded to understand the extent of the environmental problem.
A series of meetings were held by EcoSikh with Takht Management Board and the officers of the Municipal Corporation. “The gurdwara board shared the top issues and challenges faced by the pilgrimage site and its surroundings. Power and water shortages are major concerns but cleaning the Godavari would still be our top priority, which is highly polluted with city sewage,” Singh said.
During this observatory tour, ICLEI South Asia Deputy Director Emani Kumar promised to 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 and renewable energy.
Source: The Tribune