Environmentalists Protest Ahead of Modi’s Visit to Isha Foundation
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Coimbatore where he will unveil a 112-feet tall Shiva statue at the Isha Foundation, on Friday, environmental groups are raising their voices against the foundation for flouting environmental norms in its construction.
Livemint quoted retired Madras High Court judge D Hariparanthaman as saying:
P Muthumal, President of the Velliangiri Hill Tribal Protection Society, who had filed a PIL against the unauthorised construction on wetlands, had pointed out that the construction had disturbed the route of wild elephants which led to them attacking devotees.
Isha Foundation however claimed that it had gotten all the necessary permission in a blog, calling the accusations frivolous.
The accusations laid down in the petitions filed against Isha Foundation in the Madras High Court are frivolous and a compilation of twisted allegations. We would like to clarify that it is a 112-feet statue of Adiyogi Shiva (the Source of Yoga). The petitioner, incited by vested interest groups, is wilfully trying to create a sensation by misrepresenting facts. We have obtained the approval of the necessary authorities, including the District Collector, Coimbatore, the Forest Department and BSNL.
According to The News Minute, the Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) heard another application by an environmental organisation called 'Poovulagin Nanbargal' asking for an interim order to stop Maha Shivaratri celebration in the buffer zone.
There is even a change.org petition asking Modi to not attend the Maha Shivaratri event that has been planned by the head of Isha Foundation Sadhguru Jaggi.
Ignoring all these environmental concerns and protests, Modi is going ahead with the visit, which environmental activists feel is legitimising the illegal activities carried out by the Foundation.
Earlier in 2016, in the name of protecting Indian "heritage", Modi had supported an event held by the Art of Living Foundation on Yamuna floodplains, despite warnings from environmentalists who had said that the event would damage the biodiversity of the floodplains and also lessen the soil's capability to absorb water during floods.