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EcoSikh starts the campaign to plant 450 forests in Amritsar on City’s 445th Foundation Day

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Amritsar: EcoSikh, a Washington based organization, launched a five-year campaign to plant 450 forests in Amritsar on the 445th Foundation Day of the Sacred city. 2027 will be the 450th year of Amritsar’s foundation. This event was held at AIPL dream city at the 9 months old Guru Nanak Sacred forest (GNSF) planted by EcoSikh.

The event began with the Ardas (prayer) by Bhai Savinder Singh who performs sewa of Palki Sahib at Darbar Sahib every day.

On this occasion many leading personalities of the city including mayor Karamjeet Singh Rintu, Gurdeep Singh Guglani, Bhai Sukhjinder Singh, Bhai Gagandeep Singh, and Dr Indu Arora of Voice of Amritsar were present.

Amritsar Mayor Karamjeet Singh Rintu said, “It tells a lot about the mindfulness and visionary approach of the EcoSikh team that they have started the five year campaign now to celebrate the 450th year of Amritsar ahead of this auspicious occasion."

Showing support to this effort, he added "If any kind of support by the municipal authorities is needed, it will be provided without any delay"

Col. Kuldip Sandhu, the Amritsar representative of AIPL who played a key role in the five year campaign by EcoSikh, said, “We are so fortunate to have the first GNSF and our commitment is to support this grand vision of planting more forests in the city.”

The foundation stone of Amritsar was laid by Guru Ramdass Ji, the fourth Guru of Sikhs in 1577.

In recent years, the city has suffered from degrading air quality and depleting groundwater resources. There is also a severe lack of systematic waste management and infrastructure to make it sustainable. 

EcoSikh’s team presented the positive impact of the Guru Nanak Sacred forests. This was appreciated by the citizens attending.

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Supreet Kaur, EcoSikh India president said, “The effort by EcoSikh is to mitigate the effects of climate change and to tackle the grave environmental crisis the city faces.

This plantation already found ardent supporters. Vikram Singh Sahney, CEO of Sun Foundation and Raj Sabha member from Punjab has sponsored the plantation of the first 20 forests and Jagdip Singh of Sigma Group of companies will fund 10 forests.

Charan Singh, EcoSikh forest convener, said, “The campaign titled "Eco Amritsar 450" will engage the civil society, educational institutions, diaspora community, religious and the governmental bodies.”

He said "Amritsar being a popular destination of pilgrims and visitors, the city’s natural resources are under tremendous strain. In order to maintain the ecology of this sacred city, planting forests is critical, and we are confident that everyone will join in this massive effort."

EcoSikh Global President Dr Rajwant Singh said, "Amritsar is revered by millions of people all across the world. This cannot be seen as a polluted city or city with lesser green cover. The impact of the rising temperatures will have a devastating impact on the city and its surroundings. Increasing forest area especially around Darbar Sahib is absolutely a priority.”

Gagandeep Singh, Hazuri Ragi of Darbar Sahib, said “The pollution in the city is hurting the health of all of its citizens. Planting forests will help every resident and the visitor. It is everyone’s responsibility to join this sewa.”

The EcoSikh team later on the day met with the DC of Amritsar Harpreet Singh Sudan. He immediately promised his full support to EcoSikh in its mission for 5 years.

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In the last 38 months, EcoSikh has planted over 400 forests as a part of its target to plant 1 million trees celebrating the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. It has also planted a few forests in Amritsar. Trees planted via Miyawaki methodology in these forests are of native species and they attract biodiversity and are shown to improve the ecology of the area including lifting the water table.

In the past from 2012 - 2017, EcoSikh led a campaign Eco Amritsar to create awareness about the environmental challenges facing the city. It had lobbied SGPC to make the Darbar Sahib langar go organic. 

EcoSikh was founded in 2009 in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program. Recently EcoSikh was represented at the Vatican summit called by the Pope and at Glasgow COP26. It has been invited by the White House, United Nations and is working with the World Economic Forum.

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