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Karnataka HC directs Isha Yoga Centre to maintain status quo

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Bengaluru: Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed Isha Yoga Centre to maintain status quo on the construction activity being carried out by it near Nandi Hills in Karnataka.

This direction comes in the wake of inauguration of the 112 feet Adiyogi Shiva statue and the opening of a centre of Jaggi Vasudev’s Isha Foundation at Chikkaballapur. But whether the event will proceed as per schedule is not known. The Isha Foundation told UNI that it would issue a statement after tomorrow’s hearing.

The order was issued by the divisional bench of Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Ashok S Kinagi, while hearing a public interest litigation filed by S Kyathappa and others, who are active agriculturist and permanent residents of Chikkaballapur taluk.

The petitioners allege that the authorities have allowed the Isha Yoga Centre to destruct and deface entire ecosystem, environment and natural rain water streams, water bodies, water feeder streams in foot hill of Nandi Hills and Narasimha Devaru Range in NDB in utter violation of environmental laws, which has direct impact on the living, livelihood, cattle, sheep, forest animals, in the region.

The petitioners alleged that the authorities are keeping quiet and it indicates the command and influence of Isha Yoga Centre in this regard.

They also alleged that Deputy Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner, Tehsildar, Chikkaballa-pura Urban Development Authority have passed illegal orders contrary to the statues to favour Isha Yoga Centre.

The petitioners also sought records of land in Avakagurki and a direction of initiation of appropriate proceedings for protection of the Nandi Hill range.

They also sought direction against Isha Yoga Centre to or proceed with defacing, damaging the ecosystem, terrain of the Hill range in Avalagurki.

Interestingly, a similar petition against Isha Foundation was dismissed by the Madras High Court, observing that it is an educational institute, since it engages in group development activities and operates a yoga centre.

Therefore, it is entitled to the exemption granted by the central government from needing prior environmental clearance for construction activities.

Isha Foundation was given a show cause notice alleging that, while carrying out building work, it had not obtained the necessary environmental clearance required by the Union government’s Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2006.

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