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7/5/2014

Isha centre choking on controversy | Deccan Chronicle

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Isha centre choking on controversy
DC | V.Palaniappan | December 19, 2013, 08.12 am IST
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Construction work at Isha foundation (File photo)
Coimbaore: The balmy breeze over the Velliangiri mountains is turning
too scorching for the famous Isha Yoga Foundation nestled at the
foothills as the T amil Nadu government is tu rning its heat on the over
two-decades old institution for goining on a construction spree wit hou t get tin g due official appr ovals.
The District Collector Archana Patnaik on Wednesday declared that
action will be initiated “as per law” against the Isha Yoga Centre for
violating the Hill Area Conservation Authority rules. Over the last few
years, the Isha Yo ga Fo undat ion had gone ahead with ma s sive
constructions of cottages especially for its VIP and foreign guests. The
Isha Yoga Centre has constructed 77 buildings without getting the nod
from the HACA which is headed by the district Collector. Notices from
the Forest department to stop constructions too did not deter the Isha
Yoga.
In his letter to the Principal Conservator of Forest, the then Coimbatore
Divisional Forest Officer V.Thiru navu kkarasu had clear l y stated that
the Isha Yoga Centre, which is located in the elephant corridor, was a
threat to the elephant population in the area.
Last December, the Director of Town and Planning too had directed the

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7/5/2014

Isha centre choking on controversy | Deccan Chronicle

Isha Yoga to stop the constructions.
Meanwhile, a public interest litigation was filed before the Madras High
Court by advocate M Vetr iselva n seeking demolition of all the illegal
constructions made by the Foundation near Villiangiri hills. In its
response to the PIL, the State government submitted a report to the High
court stating that the Isha Yoga Foun dation had not obtai ned any
approval to cons truct such huge build ings. The Court’s verdict is
awaited.

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However, senior forest officials who inspected the Isha Foundation said
that there were a series of violations on the sprawling campus. The senior
official said that Isha institutions did not obtain any approvals for
constructing hospital, educational institutions or for any other
commercial establishments in the campus. They have obtained only
approvals from panchayats but not the mandatory approvals form the Hill
Area Conservation Authority.
About 30 panchayats in Coimbatore distri ct fall under the ambit Hill
Area Conservation Authority (HACA) Act. “ The Isha institution is located
bang in the middle of the elephant corridor and falls under the same
HACA Act,” said a senior forest official. However, the Isha Foundation
had applied for post-approval after constructing huge buildings and
institutions on the campus.
During inspection, officials had also found that Isha was constructing new
car parking area at the campus. To construct the car parking area, they
did not obtain any “No objection certificate” (NOC) from the Forest
department and the district administration.
The Isha also has constructed a bridge over the stream in the campus, but
they did not obtain a no-objection certificate from the Public works
department, forest department and other concerned departments.
“Capping all these violations was their bid to construct a helipad inside
the campus. However, the government officials intervened and stopped it
temporarily,” said a senior official, who was part of the team which
inspected the “violations” on the Isha campus.
Meanwhile, the Isha spokesman said that they would seek legal redressal
against any possible government action. Environmentalists say that all
institutions encroaching on the elephant corridors have to be “pulled
down”. Only then, the heightening man-animal conflict will abate. Else,
Coimbatore will face a serious environmental disaster, warn activists.

Next: Isha alleges delays by government
Isha alleges delays by government
Vidyashree Dharmaraj | DC
Coimbatore: A spokesperson at the Isha Foundation who did not wish to
be named said: “Approvals for the all the buildings that have been
constructed and are under construction have been sought but there
appears to be some delay in the processing of approvals. For the old
construction the foundation has got the approval of the Panchayat in
1994.”
On the 62 unapproved buildings that are already in use, and 15 which are
under construction, the spokesperson said that the documents for the
approvals have already been sent. But it is getting delayed. After the local
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Isha centre choking on controversy | Deccan Chronicle

and seal demolition notice was issued by the authorities on December 24,
2012, construction activity has been stopped.
On the absence of a clearance certificate from the Hill Area Conservation
Authority (HACA) for construction of the buildings at the premises, he
said, the matter was subjudice.
“The foundation will seek legal course to establish its stand”, the
spokesperson.

States:
Tamil Nadu
Multiple Format Page
Tags: Isha Yoga Foundation Coimbatore HACA

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