New Delhi: An official committee has found that the ashram of controversial godman Asaram Bapu on the ecologically sensitive central ridge of Delhi has made "certain violations", Lok Sabha was informed today.
In a written reply, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had asked the government to constitute a committee comprising the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, representatives of the Environment Ministry and the Ridge Management Board to inspect part of central ridge area.
The committee was asked to comment on whether any excess area was occupied by Asaram Ashram Trust.
The total area is indicated as 4,312 sq yard along with the approach path of 350ft approximately in all. The NGT had also asked the panel to comment on whether any construction was made recently.
"The Committee ...Inspected the site of Asaram Ashram Trust in Central Ridge area and has submitted the report. The Committee found certain violations," Javadekar said.
He said out of a total of 864 hectare land notified as Central Ridge, 423 hectare area is under the administrative control of the Delhi Government`s Forest Department.
The Minister said there was no encroachment reported in the area under the administrative control of the Delhi Government`s Forest Department.
A petition before the NGT had alleged that Asaram`s trust has illegally constructed an `ashram` and other structures in the Central Ridge despite a notification issued by the Delhi Government in May 1994 declaring the Ridge as "reserved forest" in terms of the provisions of the Indian Forest Act.
72-year-old Asaram Bapu is languishing in a jail in Rajasthan facing trial in rape cases.