ACs in Golden Temple: HC seeks scientific report

 Anguish over installation of air-conditioners in the Golden Temple found an echo in the Punjab and Haryana High  Court on Tuesday with petitionerMalkit Singh Jandiala, a high court lawyer, vigorously espousing  the need to preserve sanctity of theholiest of Sikh shrines. The petitioner’s counsel  Amandeep Kaur Dhiman ferventlypleaded before Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, to stop the SGPC from installing air-conditioners in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. 

Dhiman quoted various conservationists to assert that air-conditioners had the potential to wreak havoc on the ancient frescos,  which were an integral a part of the sanctum sanctorum and thus amounted to sacrilege of sorts. 

She also requested the division bench to direct the SGPC to remove two 4-ton airconditioners, one installed in sanctum sanctorum  and another on the first floor of the temple. “Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti has merely issued a statement that air- conditioners would not affect the temple in any way without bothering to ponder over conservationists’ view. This reckless assertion on the part of such an important person is really unfortunate,” Dhiman argued. Highlighting the fact that since walls of the Golden Temple were made of burnt bricks and lime mortar that kept it cool, she asserted  that there was no need to install Acs at all.

Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, the chief justice sought some scientific reports from the petitioner, which would help corroborate the theory that air-conditioners could corrode the temple’s archeological marvels.

The bench also allowed the petitioner’s counsel to find out as to what steps the SGPC and other respondents had taken to preserve the structure of the temple and if they were adequate. The petitioner was also given the liberty to approach the court again armed with required reports and statements. Conservationists like USbased Sikh scholar HS Aujla and Gurmeet Rai from GNDU have already cried hoarse over the colossal “structural damage” that these cooling machines might cause to the Golden Temple. They hammered on the fact that not even a square inch of plain space could be found on the walls and ceilings to place the ACs without damaging the original structure and decorations.

Even decorations could be in serious danger owing to changes in the micro-climatic zones that would be created inside the building as the doors have to be kept open. The overwhelming view has been that devotees throng the temple for spiritual relief and not for material and physical comforts.

 

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