M A I N   N E W S

Delhi’s Akshardham doesn’t have green clearance
n Jairam Ramesh says the temple never applied for it
n Questions green nod to CWG Village
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 7
Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today said the Akshardham Temple, the shrine of Swaminarayan sect spread over 30 acres of land on the bank of Yamuna in Delhi, does not have the requisite environmental clearance. Also, Ramesh questioned the green nod to another controversy ridden project, the Commonwealth Games Village.

Akshardham does not have the clearance because it did not apply for one, the Union Minister said while releasing new coastal zone regulations at a function here. He also made clear government’s intention to formulate river regulation zone on the lines of coastal regulation zone to protect rapidly vanishing river beds. “We cannot demolish the Akshardham Complex. It has already happened. But we can stop what is yet to happen.”

About the Commonwealth Games Village, he said: “It (CWG village, built adjacent to Akshardham) has got environmental clearance. On whether it should have got the clearance, I would say no to CWG village, no to Akshardham Complex.”

Notably, the final clearance for the village was given in December 2006 — during the UPA-I regime.

Noting that he was “seriously considering” the concept of river regulation zone to protect whatever was left of the disappearing river beds, Ramesh said, “The manner in which the Yamuna river belt has been devastated by construction should be a wake up call for all of us.”

The river regulation zone would be a statutory notification specifying the minimum distance from a river on its either side where no construction would be permitted. Then there would be a zone beyond the no-construction zone where only temporary constructions would be permitted, said Manoj Misra, convener of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan.

Meanwhile, the government today officially notified the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011 and Island Protection Zone Notification, 2011, covering Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.

The new CRZ, which replaces Coastal Regulations Zone, 1991, is aimed at protecting the 7,500 kilometre coastline in the country by regulating coastal zones for better balance in environmental protection and economic growth, Ramesh said, adding the decision on the Adarsh Cooperative society would, however, be as per the old notification. Both these new notifications reconcile three objectives: protection of livelihoods of traditional fisher-folk communities; preservation of coastal ecology and promotion of economic activity that has necessarily to be located in coastal regions.





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