Washington: The newly formed Green Pilgrimage Network, of which the Sikh holy city of Amritsar is the only member from South Asia, has pledged to take a series of steps to turn pilgrim cities green.
Among the initiatives agreed to by the group at its first convention in Assisi, Italy, are a ban on cars on pilgrimage routes, solar panels for cathedral roofs, provision of fresh clean water for pilgrims and planting of thousands of trees around sacred sites.
Dalmegh Singh, secretary of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), received the joining certificate on behalf of Amritsar, according to Washington based EcoSikh that facilitated Amritsar`s participation.
K.S. Pannu, chairperson of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), EcoSikh president Rajwant Singh and EcoSikh India project manager Ravneet Pal Singh were the other Sikh delegates.
A presentation on the Golden Temple and environment initiatives by SGPC and Amritsar city by Rajwant Singh and Ravneet Pal Singh covered plantation drives, solar energy use and future water recycling programmes.
A movie on food (langar) preparation in the Golden temple for thousands of pilgrims, its distribution and eco-friendly cleaning was also shown.
Many delegates from all over the world had a first time exposure to the Sikh tradition of free food, the langar and Sikh activism on environment preservation.
"SGPC is willing to partner to make the city of Amritsar as eco-friendly as possible. We have already devoted considerable resources towards environmental awareness and preservation," Dalmegh Singh said.
"Making Amritsar a green city will require close coordination between the religious sector, the civil society and the government. We are hopeful that this implementation will occur rapidly and Punjab government will step up," Rajwant Singh said.