Isha’s Response to Recent CAG Report

The CAG in its report for the year 2017 has mentioned Isha Foundation under a caption “Non-eviction of encroachment in Forest Area” and under the sub heading “Urbanization in Elephant Reserve”. This response is to highlight the inaccuracies / incompleteness of the CAG report.
Isha’s Response to Recent CAG Report
 

1. Encroachment

The CAG report has mentioned Isha in the section "Non – eviction of encroachment in Forest Area" and says: 

"Government replied (November 2017) that the encroachments did not fall under the purview of TBGP ( Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Conservation and Greening Project ). The reply is not tenable as the project included strengthening resource protection with geo referencing location boundary markers using Global Positioning System (GPS) for monitoring encroachments and the same was implemented in Booluvapatti village which was part of Coimbatore DMU."

The Tamil Nadu Forest Department itself in its Counter Affidavit filed categorically states that: 

A) Before the Hon’ble High Court of Madras In Writ Petition No 5885 of 2013

  • There is no encroachment in Reserve Forest (RF) area and violation of RF boundary by Isha Foundation. 

B) Before the Hon’ble National Green Tribunal, Southern Zone, Chennai In Application No 42 of 2017 

  • There is no encroachment in Reserve Forest (RF) area and violation of RF boundary by Isha Foundation. 

C) The Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change in its Counter Affidavit before the Hon’ble National Green Tribunal, Southern Zone, Chennai In Application No 42 of 2017 states:

  • There is no encroachment in Reserve Forest (RF) area and violation of RF boundary by Isha Foundation.              

All these conclusions are based on the report of the Regional Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Region.  

Isha Yoga Center is built upon Private Patta land legally purchased from individuals.

2. Elephant Corridor 

The CAG report says, “Urbanization in Elephant Reserve: The buildings were in the protected area of Booluvapatti reserve forest range, known for elephant corridor / habitat." 

  • In the counter affidavits filed by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department in WP 5885, NGT Appln No 42 of 2017 The Tamil Nadu Forest Department nowhere mentions that Isha is in the elephant corridor.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change in its Counter Affidavit Before the Hon’ble National Green Tribunal, Southern Zone, Chennai In Application No 42 of 2017 also does not state that Isha is in the Elephant Corridor. 
  • The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) while replying to an RTI also does not mention Isha or any area near Isha in the list of elephant corridors in Tamil Nadu.
  • The Gajah Report – The report of the Elephant Task Force, Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change does not state that Isha is in the Elephant Corridor.
  • The Right Of Passage – Elephant Corridors of India by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) which has been compiled by various experts and further approved by the State Forest Departments of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Meghalaya, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Uttaranchal and West Bengal also does not mention the area in which Isha is present as an elephant corridor. 
  • Eminent scientists working in the field of Elephant conservation clearly state that Isha Foundation is not anywhere close to an elephant corridor. 

Isha is not present in the elephant reserve nor is it anywhere near an Elephant corridor.

Even the Counter Affidavit filed by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department in the Writ Petition 5885 also states that “these allegations have cropped up because of some petty dispute with officials of Isha Foundation.”

3. Building Approvals

The CAG Report says "….. approval of HACA was pending (July 2017)."

In the 58th HACA Meeting held on 16.03.2017 the HACA had given approval for all the buildings of Isha Foundation and technical clearance was given by the Tamil Nadu Town & Country Planning Department on 03.05.2017.

All these facts were ignored by the CAG in its report.

 
 
 
 
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