NGT Gives Nod to Isha Foundation for Mahashivaratri Celebrations

The Adiyogi- a 34-metre-tall, 45-metre-long and 25-metre-wide statue of the Hindu god Shiva at Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

In the order, the green tribunal stated that Isha Yoga Centre is not located in the elephant corridor. While the court has directed the Tamil Nadu State Pollution Board to ensure that decibel levels were within acceptable limits during the celebration.

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Poornima Murali

The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) gave a nod to Isha Foundation to conduct its Mahashivaratri festival after obtaining due permissions from the district administration, police, and forest department.

The petition was filed in connection with concerns that the foundation was built on an encroached land and the celebrations could disturb the elephant corridor, resulting in man-animal conflict.

In the said order, it was observed, “It was confirmed by the Regional Chief Conservator of Forests that there is no encroachment in the forest area by eleventh respondent [Isha Foundation]. Though it was not declared as an elephant corridor, due to the passage of elephants taken in that area, certain restrictions have been issued and also directed to remove certain constructions made during Maha Shivaratri function and also they have been directed to maintain green belt to mitigate noise pollution etc..”

The order while disposing of the petition, also observed that matters about encroachment are pending before the High Court, so it would not be appropriate to go into these issues. And the court also directed the Tamil Nadu State Pollution Board to ensure that decibel levels were within acceptable limits during the event.

Meanwhile, the Isha foundation has consistently denied any violation of environmental laws and has repeatedly rejected claims of an elephant corridor.

The order also stated that no man-animal conflict has been reported during Maha Shivaratri festival. “So far, no untoward incidents of damages to life/property by wild animals’ are reported to have happened during this festival.” The Tribunal also stated that Isha Yoga Centre is not located in the elephant corridor.

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