Purification project

Published: Friday 31 January 2003

Devotees at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, the major shrine for followers of the Sikh religion, will now be able to bathe in purified water. Authorities in Amritsar have appointed an American architectural firm -- the Colorado-based Ohlson Lavoie Corp -- to clean up the holy sarovar (tank) around the shrine.

The firm has already carried out a survey and has suggested installation of a water treatment and filtration plant to clean the water of the holy tank. Special filters will be flown in from California for the purpose. Douglas G Whittaker, researcher with Ohlson Lavoie, said: "We will use sand filtration, which will not harm the fish or water." No chemicals will be used and no changes will be made to the mud floor of the 81-foot-deep tank. The work is estimated to take about a month to complete.

The sarovar was last cleaned in 1984 during Operation Bluestar. Since then, it has become polluted due to daily bathing by devotees and food dropped for fish.

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