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Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 8

As part of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, in 2019, Pakistan government officials have endorsed a plan to explore green projects at Kartarpur and Nankana Sahib, the most revered Sikh shrines in the neighbouring nation.

Dr Rajwant Singh, president of Washington-based EcoSikh, today said the Sikh body had made the proposal to the officials.

Guru Nanak was born in Nankana Sahib and he spent over 17 years at Kartarpur. Dr Singh said he recently visited Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib, Nairowal, to explore what actions would be needed by the community and the administration to preserve the ecology of these sites. He was invited by the first Sikh member of Pakistan’s Punjab Assembly Ramesh Singh Arora, who facilitated all the official meetings.

Dr Singh proposed that the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak be celebrated in a unique manner. He met Federal Minister of Planning Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal of Narowal and discussed with him the possibility of far-reaching environmental plans.

Iqbal reportedly gave positive response of forming a steering committee to formulate master plans. “These sacred sites are revered by Sikhs all over the world. We have proposed the idea of dedicating between 25 and 50 acres of land at Nankana Sahib and at Kartarpur as “sacred forest” to conserve bio-diversity around these places,” he said.

Dr Singh said their plans included solar panels, creating organic farmland for langar, dedicating sacred forest areas and creating an ethos of care for the environment among local faith leaders, local communities and thousands of pilgrims who visited Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur every year.

In addition, around five or 10 acres would be devoted to organic farming to supply organic food for 'langar'.

Evacuee Trust Property Board’s (Auqaaf) secretary Khalid Ali also expressed his support to bring development under a green master plan. Solar energy plans were also part of the discussion for Nankana Sahib, which has thousands of acres of land associated with the shrine and is managed by the trust.

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