Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Illegal temple coming up in wildlife sanctuary

Ashwin Aghor
Monday, April 21, 2008 03:25 IST

The Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, 30 km north of Borivili, is witnessing an unholy development — an illegal temple is being constructed by the Sadanandbaba Ashram. Despite several notices, the construction continues.

The state forest department has already issued two eviction notices to the Sadanandbaba Ashram Trust. “The trustees have ignored the notices so far. However, as per the latest notice, the trust has been instructed to vacate the place before April 30. In case they fail to comply, the construction will be demolished,” said PN Munde, conservator of forest and director, Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

However, forest department officials claimed that it was pointless trying to stop the trust’s activities since they have strong political support with around six cabinet ministers and six ministers of state supporting them. “There have been around 25 futile meetings with the state government and the trustees. The department had to face enormous political pressure every time any action was initiated against the trust,” said a senior official from the state forest ministry.

Officials claimed that they face serious problems such as threat to life and other political pressures when they try to remove the encroachment and prevent illegal activities in the sanctuary.

Apart from the illegal construction, the trustees of the ashram have also kept four peacocks — two males and two females — claimed to be donated by a devotee from Gujarat


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