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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

NGO to clean Sikh pilgrim sites

PTI  Chandigarh, December 28, 2013
First Published: 15:04 IST(28/12/2013) | Last Updated: 15:07 IST(28/12/2013)

A US-based ecology organisation today said it is working towards cleaning Sikh pilgrim sites in India and making them 'pollution-free'.

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"We want the devotees to be aware that it is not merely a religious site which is sacred but the entire Earth so that they can change their lifestyles. However, cleaning the religious sites is the first step in this direction," Rajawant Singh, president of 'EcoSikh' said.

EcoSikh, a non-governmental organisation, has joined hands with International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), which has over 1,200 cities and towns in 84 countries across the globe as its members, he said.

The organisation is going to undertake its first such work in India, beginning from Nanded.

'EcoSikh' has worked with UK-based Alliance of Religions and Conservation on faith-based environmental activism and facilitated the inclusion of Amritsar and Nanded in a global 'Green Pilgrimage Network' of pilgrim cities.

Hazur Sahib, situated in Nanded on the banks of River Godavari, is considered one of the five most important spiritual sites for Sikhs where Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs, was installed by the last Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

ICLEI, which works with local governments providing them technical consulting and training among other things in implementation of sustainable objectives at local-level, will undertake the clean up drive in coordination with Gurudwara authorities and the local administration, he said.

"Nanded receives over 25,000 pilgrims on an average day to visit historical Sikh religious sites, which puts a lot of pressure on all the environment resources like water, air, energy and transport, hence it is important for all of us to maintain this city for future generations," Singh said.

"We also have to sensitise the pilgrims to play a role in preserving the natural resources of this site," he added.

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