Ashram in Goa surrounded by controversies gets demolition notice

Panaji, May 18 (IANS): Around three permanent structures of ashram that have been constructed at Vape-Sadolxem in Poinguinim village of South Goa by one Raaj Shashibhushan Pandey, have been served a demolition notice.

The ashram, which has become a subject of controversy over environmental issues, and also for not obtaining a construction license, has now been slapped with a demolition notice.

According to local panchayat members, though the owner of these structures has not obtained any 'No Objection Certificate' from them to start construction, the structures are already at the completion level.

Speaking to IANS, Poinguinim Sarpanch, Savita Tawadkar said that they have not received any application from the owner of the structures, who is believed to be 'Swamiji' or 'Baba'.

"He had taken temporary permission to erect huts from the erstwhile panchayat body, but he has not taken permission for permanent structures from new body. Hence, we have served him stop notice and even now demolition notice," she said.

"When we visited the site after receiving a complaint, we found the permanent structures coming up and hence we initiated action. We have already filed a police complaint in this regard and informed other concerned departments to stop him from completing the work," Savita Tawadkar said.

Mahesh Naik, a panchayat member, said that Pandey had not taken any NOC from the panchayat for the construction. "We have issued him a demolition notice. We have also informed the electricity department and police about the same," Naik said.

Sources from the forest department said they have registered a case against Raaj Shashibhushan Pandey for allegedly felling trees at the site.

Deputy Collector from Canacona in South Goa has served show cause notice to Raaj Shashibhushan Pandey and has asked him to appear before court on June 7.

IANS had tried to reach out to Pandey but he was not available.

Some locals said that he deterred himself from giving clarification to authorities, who visited on Wednesday.

"We are not aware of where he has come from. Some say that he is from Uttar Pradesh and has good links with our politicians, hence he could construct the ashram without obtaining a construction license," one local resident said.

Congress leader Girish Chodankar, raising this issue, has questioned the government about the felling of trees for this ashram.

"At whose mercy have we left our forests? Incident of trees being felled, a hill cut in the name of ashram at Vape, Canacona has surfaced. Sins can't be washed in ashrams, forest minister Vishwajit Rane will have to ask forgiveness from nature God," Chodankar said.



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