Tribune News Service
Amritsar, May 31
Even as local BJP leaders continue to extend support to the traders against a no-vehicle zone around the Golden Temple, many city-based NGOs have unanimously favoured the government’s move.
A delegation of these NGOs met the heads of the government departments concerned and lobbied for the zone and felt it would bring down the high-pollution contents affecting the heritage structure of the holy Sikh shrine.
Establishment of a no-vehicle zone around the Golden Temple under the ‘Golden Temple Beautification Project’ to reduce air pollution, to streamline traffic snarls, to protect travellers and devotees from snatching and pick-pocket incidents was a welcome step, they said.
A deputation of the NGOs led by Rajinder Singh Marwaha, president, trade cell, Majha zone, Shiromani Akali Dal, met Police Commissioner Amar Singh Chahal to demand the completion of the no-vehicle zone project along with streamlining traffic in all parts of the city. The Amritsar Vikas Manch, Mission Aagaaz, Team Fateh, Eco-Sikh, Amritsar Hotel and Restaurants Associations, Lok Kalyan Samiti, Saathi Sanstha and Human Rights Organisations unanimously favoured the setting up of the no-vehicle zone.
Members of these organisations said the benefits of the beautification projects were immense. They reasoned that in case a section of the traders faced any problem due to the proposed no- vehicle zone, their grievances must be redressed like providing an easy and alternative passage.
The distance between Fawara Chowk to Shani Mandir on the Ghanta Ghar side is only 150 metres but the number of diesel autos operating in this small area was much more. It causes immense air pollution problems. The Golden Temple area where more than one lakh devotees come daily is infested with poisonous air pollutants like sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide.
These acidic air pollutants are causing damage to the shine of gold, marble and frescos of the Golden Temple. IIT Delhi, the Central Pollution Control Board and the Punjab Pollution Control Board have recommended to reduce the quantity of these pollutants in the air of this area. In 1999, new gold plating was done, but due to excessive air pollutants, the SGPC has to clean the gold every year.
The NGOs reasoned that a no-vehicle zone would offer enough time to the tourists to patiently look at markets around the Golden Temple and shop. The devotees who come here to seek solace and emotional satisfaction from the pious atmosphere of the Golden Temple felt depressed from the traffic and pollution problems in the area.
They said all residents must know that these barricades would be hydraulic and computerised. In any emergency or special circumstances, these barricades could be lowered to the ground level within seconds and all the two-wheelers or four-wheelers could pass very easily.
So, due to misconception about the project, rumours were spread by some persons must be clarified by the administration, they demanded.
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