New building code, El Nino put off plans for US gurdwara

New York, Nov 19 (IANS) The groundbreaking ceremony of a new gurdwara in the US was delayed after a building code modification and concerns over changes in the weather, a media report said.

Sikhs in California’s Sutter county will have to wait longer for a gurdwara in South George Washington Boulevard as the authorities have modified the building codes in the county and they fear a possibility of a strong El Nino effect this winter, news website reported on Wednesday.

“Concerns over the possibility of a strong El Nino effect this winter and changes in Sutter county building codes since the temple plans were approved in 2010 could delay work until spring,” Sukhcharan Singh, a spokesperson for the Guru Nanak Sikh Society, said.

The Guru Nanak Sikh Society is looking after legal and construction issues of the gurdwara.

“Starting a project this time of year, especially with El Nino, could lead to delays which might cost more money,” Singh said, adding, “We are talking with contractors about how they will adjust and handle it. If it doesn’t cost us any extra money it can happen sooner.”

El Nino is the prolonged warming in the Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures when compared with the average value. This anomaly happens at irregular intervals of two to seven years, and lasts nine months to two years.

Due to strong El Nino effect, California witnesses heavy rains in winters.

Initially, the county blocked the gurdwara project because the land for the project was zoned for agriculture. The organisation won a court case in 2006 that allowed the project to continue.

“The plans for the gurdwara were submitted and approved in 2010, but the society needed to raise more funds before work could begin, and problems with contractors going out of business delayed the process,” Singh said.

“In the meantime, the county’s building code was updated and the temple plans must be brought in line with the changes.”

“The grading process on the build site can begin before the plans are re-approved by the county, but the society could wait until after the rainy season to avoid weather-related work stoppages,” Singh added.

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