The NGT has found a building owned by a trust of the Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to have been built in violation of environmental norms in east Kolkata, reports India Today.
According to reports the National Green Tribunal’s eastern bench ordered the demolition of a building constructed by the foundation in Kolkata’s ecologically fragile wetlands.
The NGT order, passed earlier this week, asked the East Kolkata Wetland Management Authority (EKWMA) to “remove all illegal structures” raised by the Vaidic Dharma Sansthan Trust, a part of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living foundation.
The order has also asked the EKWMA to consider “imposition of appropriate penalty” against the organisation for flouting green norms and “encroaching” upon the wetland. The EKWMA is a statutory body under the West Bengal government’s Department of Environment entrusted with the upkeep of the wetlands.
The NGT order came on a petition filed in May 2016 by PUBLIC, a Kolkata-based NGO working on environmental issues.
The EKWMA had filed an FIR last year against Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Vaidic Dharma Sansthan for flouting environmental norms to construct a three storey ”illegal” structure called the ”Temple of Knowledge” in the east Kolkata wetlands, a region considered extremely fragile ecologically.
About 12,500 hectres of wetland in Kolkata’s eastern fringe are included in the Ramsar list of ‘Wetlands of International Importance’. However, due to indiscriminate urbanisation, the site is under extreme threat.
It is in this very area that the Vaidic Dharma Sansthan constructed the three storey-concrete structure, which activists say is a blatant violation of the East Kolkata Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Act of 2006.