Heat over Golden Temple ACs

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Old 29-May-2008
Heat over Golden Temple ACs

AMRITSAR: It seems the Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has stealthily installed two giant four-ton ACs in the Golden Temple sanctum sanctorum disregarding a wail of protests from both Sikhs and heritage conservationists across the world.

What's a bigger surprise is that the covert operation for the benefit of its granthis and VVIP visitors has come after the SGPC's tactical retreat last year following its decision for the first time to install the air conditioners.

The greatest risk from these six-foot monsters is to the beautiful frescos and the heritage building itself is now at the mercy of variations in temperatures, said shocked anti-AC crusaders and conservationists.

Reportedly done at the request of Surinder Kaur Badal, the Punjab CM's wife, who is a regular at the Gurdwara every month, the SGPC loudly defended the move. Avtar Singh Makkar, president of the Sikhs' mini-parliament, said the SGPC had taken "extensive opinions" from conservation experts before deciding on the technology and placement of the ACs.

"No damage has been done to the historical building," he said and denied charges that Surinder Kaur Badal was behind all this. "It was the ragis (hymn singers) who complained of sweltering heat while performing kirtans for two-three hours at a stretch."

Very few are convinced, though. Gurmeet Rai, heritage conservationist, said, "It is difficult to believe that the huge ACs would not create any damage."

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