The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) has slapped a stop-work notice on Bharat Sevashram Sangha, asking it to restore in a month a pond on Cornfield Road that it had allegedly tried to fill up as part of a beautification programme.
Sangha coordinator Swami Biswatmananda, however, said: 'I am yet to get a refusal letter from the civic body or any other authority, like the state pollution control board, regarding the beautification scheme.'
The Sangha, he added, had sought the CMC's approval in March for the beautification programme. 'In May, the CMC had asked us to submit a detailed project report. We did so, but the file is still lying with the authorities. We started work after waiting for a reply for three months.'
Chief municipal architect and town planner Anindya Karforma said on Sunday that the Sangha had been filling up the waterbody at 1A, Cornfield Road for a week, even after the CMC denied it permission following a spot inspection.
Beautification work has remained suspended since Monday last, following the civic body's stop-work notice.
According to Karforma, the Sangha had initially sought permission for beautifying a pond on its Cornfield Road campus. Under CMC pressure, it later submitted a project report, but did not refer to its plan about filling up the pond.
In the report, the Sangha said the waterbody measured 30 cottahs. 'But on going through the records, we found the actual area of the waterbody was 48 cottahs. We then refused to sanction the beautification project,' Karforma said.
Denying the charges, the Sangha spokesperson said the pond was not on the campus, but adjacent to it. 'The total area of the pond is about 44 cottahs, of which the Sangha had purchased 35 cottahs four years ago. Part of the waterbody was filled up to set up a park,' he said.
'We are ready to give an undertaking that no construction will be carried out on the reclaimed plot,' he asserted.
The pond originally belonged to Sri Sri Sitaramjiu Trust of Sankharitola Street, in Sealdah. The trust still retains ownership of 20 per cent of the waterbody.