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Well, this is where we come to the elephant in the room.

Which is there, as a Comptroller and Auditor General report on Sadhguru’s Isha Foundation found, because the Foundation built a bunch of buildings on land near Coimbatore that was supposed to be an elephant corridor, and where construction was supposed to require permission from the Tamil Nadu Hill Area Conservation Authority.

The Isha Foundation of course insists that it got clearance from the relevant authorities for its building, but as the CAG noted in its report, this clearance was asked for ex-post facto.

This ex-post facto approval only came through in 2017 (after PM Modi inaugurated an Adiyogi statue on the Foundation’s campus) and prior to that, the Foundation continued construction on the land despite notices from the Forest Department in 2012 and a rejection of the original request in 2013.

Relevant permissions were also not taken at the outset from the town and country planning department for years despite being required. But of course, no objection certificates were suddenly provided in 2017.

The Foundation built its Yoga Centre in the area without obtaining prior environmental clearance as required under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification of 2006.

While it did apply for this ex-post facto (which is allowed upon payment of certain penalties) in 2018, it withdrew its EIA application after being asked to show compliance of the site with regulations including those of the Public Works Department, HACA, conservator of forests and the water supply and drainage board in 2020, Newslaundry reported.

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