Ramesh questions construction of CWG Village

New Delhi: Raising questions over construction of Commonwealth Games Village and Akshardham Temple on Yamuna River banks here, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday said the former should not have been given environmental clearance while the Temple never even got it.

He, however, conceded that these constructions could not be demolished now.

"If your question is whether the Commonwealth Games village got environmental clearance, the answer is yes, it got. Should it have got environmental clearance, I don`t think it should have got environmental clearance.

"Should Akshardham have got environmental clearance, I don`t think it should have got environmental clearance," Ramesh told reporters here while talking about his efforts to protect the river zones.

He said Akshardham didn`t get the clearance as it "didn`t apply" for it.

Asked whether Akshardham Temple, spread over a 30-acre plot of land, was constructed by violating the environmental norms, he said, "It has already happened. What is yet to happen, we can stop that."

"We can`t demolish the Commonwealth Games village, we can`t demolish the Akshardham complex. We have to protect the remaining river bed," the minister added.

The temple, which was built over five years before being inaugurated on November 6, 2005, had courted controversies earlier also over environmental concerns.

Noting that he was seriously considering the concept of the River Regulation Zone notification, Ramesh said, "The manner in which the Yamuna river belt has been devastated by construction should be a wake up call to all of us."

Describing Akshardham Temple as the "first culprit", he said after it "we had a series of other constructions."

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