Pollution the Heritage killer


pA number of trucks and other vehicles bringing devotees from far off places, including Punjab, Haryana and other states, for performing “langar sewa” (community kitchen service) at Guru Ram Dass Langar Hall have been causing lot of pollution in the Golden Temple apart from causing inconvenience to the devotees.

The “langar sewa” was launched on the initiative of Surinder Kaur Badal, wife of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, and leaders of the ruling SAD and BJP have been vying with each other to perform the sewa.

The SGPC president, Avtar Singh, admitted that the four-wheelers had been creating havoc in the Golden Temple complex yet it was difficult to stop them since the jathas were led by VIPs. Earlier, data collected by the pollution control board revealed that the pollution level in the surroundings of the Golden Temple had been constantly rising. Every goldsmith and dhaba/hotel owner uses 15 kg to 25 kg coal or up to 50 litres of diesel/kerosene a day, depending upon the workload and availability of electricity.

The government was also contemplating a ban on use of fuel other than LPG by goldsmiths, hotels and dhabas in the walled city here to reduce pollution affecting the Golden Temple, following a report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB).

The PPCB had found high levels of harmful nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide in the ambient air. Experts had also cautioned that fireworks released these gases, which could react with marble leading to corrosion and blackening. Miniature paintings and gold-plating were also under threat from harmful gases, experts had added.

The PPCB had also recommended to the Punjab government to ban burning of fuel other than LPG in the walled city to save the Golden Temple.

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