To make cooking environmental-friendly within the precincts of the Golden Temple, union minister for new and renewable energy Farooq Abdullah announced here on Sunday that solar energy would be harnessed for preparing 'guru ka langar' in the Guru Ramdas Langar Hall (community kitchen) of the shrine.
The cost of this solar project will be borne by the union renewable energy ministry. At present, around 100 LPG cylinders, besides large quantities of wood, are used each day for preparing the 'langar'.
The minister made this announcement after paying obeisance at the shrine and praying for peace between India and Pakistan and for peace in the Kashmir Valley.
He also offered prayers for the well-being of his son and Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah. Among those who accompanied the central minister to the shrine were Punjab minister for renewable energy Bikram Singh Majithia, Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) chairman Bhai Manjit Singh and SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh.
A detailed solar project for the community kitchen, which has been prepared by PEDA, was handed over to Dr AK Singhal, director, union ministry of new and renewable energy, by PEDA director Balour Singh. Experts in the field of solar energy from the central ministry will be visiting the Golden Temple soon to work out the modalities for the project.
An estimated 30 solar concentrating dishes are proposed to be installed atop the community kitchen building to harness the solar power for preparing the steam for cooking 'dal' (pulses) in the intial phase. Gradually, other cooking operations like preparing 'chapattis' will also be done through solar energy. The system will also have a hybrid boiler for generating steam on cloudy or rainy days.
In addition to this project, the union ministry will also install a solar lighting system at Gurdwara Shaheedan in the city. These two projects will incur a cost of around Rs 2.5 crore, which will be borne by the central ministry.
The ministry has already approved a solar water heating system with a capacity of heating 5,000 litres per day at the community kitchen of the Golden Temple. The heated water is by and large used for cleaning utensils. The ministry has also installed a 25-KW solar photovoltaic power plant in the shrine complex, which is providing power to Guru Arjan Dev Niwas.
Abdullah, along with Majithia and others, visited the 'langar' building and saw the water heating system. Majithia informed the minister that 504 MV of renewable energy plants had been completed in the state, out of which bio mass and cogeneration projects accounted for 362.50 MV.
The union minister assured Majithia that his ministry would extend all possible support to the state for promoting the use of solar energy and biomass energy. The minister was later honoured with a 'siropa' and a replica of the Golden Temple by the SGPC.