New Delhi: The Akshardham Temple, built on
banks of Yamuna River here, lacks environmental clearance,
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said Friday but conceded
that nothing could be done about it now.
"Akshardham didn`t get the clearance. Akshardham
didn`t apply for the environmental clearance," Ramesh told
reporters here about the grand temple of Swaminarayan sect
spread over 30-acre plot of land.
Asked whether Akshardham Temple was constructed by
violating the environmental norms, he said, "It has already
happened. What is yet to happen, we can stop that."
Pressed further, he said, "We can`t demolish the
Akshardham Complex. We have to protect the remaining river
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."
"River belts...whether it is Akshardham Temple, which
was the first culprit, then we had a series of other
constructions. River belts have to be protected," he said.
Ramesh was also asked whether the Commonwealth Games
village, built adjacent to Akshardham, also lacked green nod.
"Yes it got. There was a village...I don`t want to
get into past, the clearance was given," he said.