Guru Ram Dass, the 4th Sikh Guru, founded the Amritsar in 1577 and now it has become 29th largest city in India, attracting 100,000 pilgrims on a daily basis from all over the world and a site of major religious tourism in North India.
Dr. Rajwant Singh, President of EcoSikh said, “An international campaign for Eco-Amritsar 2017, a five-year plan to mark city's 440th anniversary with the goal of making it eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable, has brought together many diverse organizations coming forward to take concrete individual and collaborative steps to reduce carbon footprints.”
He further added, “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 city's natural resources which has increased with the surge of pilgrims in the recent times.”
Largest Stakeholders like SGPC which runs the management of the Golden Temple has decided to announce yearly celebration of City’s foundation day which comes in the month of June and to commit to organic farming in the lands associated with Gurdwaras in Amritsar district. Other institutions and establishments like Celebration Mall, a large business group, Chief Khalsa Diwan running large number of educational bodies, Durgiana Mandir, and DAV educational groups had sent their representatives to support this effort. City administration has also pledged to enforce rainwater harvesting in all government buildings and institutions and in establishments of 500 sq. yards and above. In addition, a plan will be devised for collaborative effort by city and Baba Sewa Singh for plantation across the city and increasing green patches in Amritsar, to be run under DC of the city. A suggestion has been forwarded to add 50 buses in next five years to help reduce pollution.
Bhai Manjit Singh, head of PEDA ( Punjab Energy Development Agency) said, “We would like to make city 10% of all its energy from solar power.” 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 complex on 300 acres land in Amritsar, informed the audience that they have signed an MoU with EcoSikh, focused on plantations, water and energy audit and to involve students to explore internships on environmental work.
Sanjay Sachdeva, President of AIPL and creator of Green City project in Amritsar, said, “We are committed to support and become partners in this endeavor.”
According to Rajwant Singh, EcoSikh has proposed a six point agenda for the campaign in which various 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 and 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.”
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