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Amritsar's Golden Temple Threatened By Poisoned Air
ar Patel, Edited by Divyanshu Dutta Roy | Updated: July 24, 2015 00:43 IST EMAIL PRINT 4 COMMENTS Amritsar's Golden Temple Threatened By Poisoned Air, Say Environmentalists Click to Play Besides polluting vehicles, coal-fired hearths run by goldsmiths burn on at a stone's throw and the promise to curb the mushrooming hotel industry remains stuck. Amritsar's pride and the most revered gurudwara of the Sikhs, the 17th Century Golden Temple is losing its sheen. Rapidly increasing vehicular traffic around the complex, mushrooming hotels and industrial pollution are threatening its gold-plated domes and walls, says environment activist Sarabjit Singh Verka. A World Health Organisation report says Amritsar is the ninth most polluted city in the country. Punjab Pollution Control Board and Local authorities have been trying to check the pollution around the temple for years now. But on a visit to the gurudwara, NDTV found polluting vehicles ferrying tourists just 500 meters from the temple complex. "There are 200 hotels in the area with dozens of air conditioned rooms, kitchens, generators and the traffic in the vicinity, the vehicles which come to these hotels are causing a lot of harm to the gold plating of the temple and the lake water," says Verka. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee is finding it tough to maintain the lustre of its pure gold sheets first replaced in 1999 after 170 years. Now there are fears the next facelift might have to be done in just 25 years. The Punjab pollution control Board is yet to fulfil its promise to install a real time pollution monitoring device, a senior gurudwara official says. But the state government says it is doing the best it can do right now. "We are protecting the heritage. If you look at it there is a huge infrastructure upgradation that is taking place," Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal says. However, it takes only a quick visit to see how efforts by authorities to protect the gurudwara have fallen flat. Besides polluting vehicles, coal-fired hearths run by goldsmiths burn on at a stone's throw and the promise to curb the mushrooming hotel industry remains stuck.
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