Monday, November 19, 2007

Polution Threat to Harimandir Sahib

The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) should take immediate steps to control pollution around Golden Temple. SGPC should frame a policy within the next three or four months for initiating steps for controlling pollution caused by the use of fire crackers in the temple complex. Authorities concerned should also take preventive measure to control pollution created by the small scale industries situated around the temple.

Sri Harimandir Sahib, also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple is named after Hari(God) the temple of God. The Sikhs all over the world, daily wish to pay visit to Amritsar and to pay obeisance at Sri Harimandir Sahib in their Ardas.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Punjab Pollution Control Board, which had been monitoring the environment around the Golden Temple, found high levels of harmful nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide in the ambient air. The experts had also cautioned that fireworks release these gases which could react with marble leading to its corrosion and blackening. The miniature paintings and gold plating are also under threat from the harmful gases, the experts added. The recent study was an eye opener that fireworks at the shrine complex could cause such a damaging effect on the Harmandir Sahib.

It was difficult to change the 400-year old tradition but the SGPC authorities should discuss the issue so that the shrine could be saved from being damaged.

Tight security in Pakistan for Indian Sikh jatha

Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) has made unprecedented security arrangements for Sikh devotees visiting Pakistan on the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev on November 24. According to sources, the heightened security is in the wake of emergency declared in Pakistan and apprehensions that terrorists from North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan may infiltrate Lahore during the visit of devotees from around the world.

Various security agencies like security branch, crime investigation agency and ISI are expected to monitor movements of the Sikh jatha. "We believe they will permanently station their spies in gurdwaras as long as the Sikh jatha stays in Pakistan," says sources. Those Sikh who have been illegally staying in Pakistan’s gurdwaras will also be watched and may be asked to leave the country, say sources.
Meanwhile, PSGPC will also bring an inter-faith delegation to India to strengthen religious bonds between the two nations. "Pakistan government has made unprecedented security arrangements for the arrival of some 20,000 Sikhs from around the world, including 3,000 from NWFP and 7,000 from Sindh," informs Bishan Singh, president PSGPC on the phone from Lahore on Saturday.
Informing that he will lead the inter-faith delegation to India in December to promote peace, Singh adds, "The delegation will include religious representatives of Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and Christians from Pakistan and they will hold meetings with leaders of different faiths in India."
Stating that adequate security arrangements were in place, Sadiq Khurram, the newly-appointed organizing secretary of Pakistan Evacuee Trust Property Board, a parent body of PSGPC, adds, "We expect all religious festivities to pass off peacefully."
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Avtar Singh Makkar says that the Sikh jatha, led by former SGPC president Kabal Singh Theenda, will leave for Lahore on a special Sikh pilgrim train from Attari international railway station on November 21. The jatha was earlier scheduled to leave on November 19, but following a change in programme by PSGPC, it was postponed by two days.