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Amritsar becomes more of an Eco-City on its foundation day this year

July 6, 2013:

Amritsar becomes more of an Eco-City on its foundation day this year July 6, Amritsar celebrated its foundation day today, July 6, by making further steps to transform the Sikh holy city into a Sikh eco city. The idea, initiated by ARC’s sister organisation, EcoSikh, as part of Amritsar’s status as a founding member of the Green Pilgrimage Network is to have an annual celebration of the founding of the city by improving its natural environment and eco-consciousness. Some 25 to 30 million pilgrims visit the Golden Temple at Amritsar every year.

With the monsoon just started, the 436th Amritsar Foundation Day procession waded through rainwater from Harmandir Sahib to Company Bagh on July 6, spreading the message of a responsible Clean & Green City. The programme was run by a special committee of friends and citizens of Amritsar, and many programs were initiated. These included:

  • A plantation drive and a declaration of zero chemical usage, starting from Harmandir Sahib gurdwara and extending to various gurdwaras led by SGPC President Jathedar Avtar Singh Makar.
  • Green nagar kirtan
  • Awareness messages of “no garbage left over, no plastic used or littered”. This is a pathbreaking effort as a model for all religious and cultural processions, chabilis, langars, jagratas et al
  • Kirtan & Katha Programme on environmental consciousness by the SGPC
  • Academic Seminar on Amritsar: My City, My Pride, My Responsibility! Run by the Guru Ram Das School of Planning.
  • Tree Plantation Drive started from Guru Ka Bagh, Golden Temple. The first five trees were planted by Singh Sahib, Jathedar Akaal Takht.
  • The Sikh “Eco-Saint” Baba Sewa Singh ji announced tree-lining of the Grand Trunk Road, Amritsar (from Jandiala to Amritsar City). This included 10,000 trees by the Brick Kiln Association, and 40,000 by various partners through Khudai Khitmatgaran,
  • Tree plantation at Government School Heir.
  • Dustbins were put in place at Basant Avenue Market in presence of the Mayor and Ms. Navjot Sidhu by NGO partner VOA and a pledge by the entire shopkeepers and colony to keep the area clean.
  • The start of an "I am Responsible" Signature Campaign
  • Launch of awareness campaign through hoardings, media articles, banners, Also handbills and stickers stressing the need for citizens to take responsibility for their city.
  • Organic cultivation program at Khalsa College and Khadur Sahib.
  • Partnerships with audio, visual, print and social media
  • Week devoted to taking pride and responsibility for Amritsar by Gur Iqbal Singh jee veerji during katha and kirtan.
  • Tree plantation done by Mr. Rajat Agarwal, DC Amritsar at the heritage Company Bagh. Expertise and trees by Mr. PS Bhatty, (the million tree man)
  • Indian Academy of Fine Arts had two consecutive exhibitions on July 5 and 6 with paintings by 22 artists on Harmandir sahib, and a photographic profile of the City.
  • Indian Medical Association started a program of repeated environmental and civic responsibility messages in all nursing homes and hospitals of Amritsar.
  • Nature Clubs in many educational Institutions to be set up under the WWF program
  • Three "I am Responsible" Zero Disposal Parks (ZDP's) inaugurated at Bloomingdale Park Green Avenue, Dr, Baldev Prakash Park Green Avenue & Ranjit Avenue Park. 
  • Vermicomposting pits started.
  • An Interfaith Citizens Meeting held at Company Bagh had representatives from all communities and city Stakeholders. DC Amritsar presided. NGO participation by Pingalwara Society, NCC, Khadur Sahib Society, Millineum School, Khalsa Colleges and Schools, Chief Khalsa Dewan, Khudai Khitmatgaran, VOA, Durgiana Committee, Mohallah Committees, CII, WWF, Brick Klin Asso, Indo Pak Exporters Asso, Shawl Club, Nanhi Chaan Foundation, Amritsar Club, AVM, Rotary and Lions Clubs.
“But this is only the beginning,” said EcoAmritsar chairman, Gunbir Singh. “Work has only just been initiated. Mindsets have started to change. We must continue to painstakingly persevere...for there are miles to go before we sleep!”

More details on the EcoSikh website here.  

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