Mall wake-up call for temple's eco nod

A scale-model of Virat Ramayan Mandir

Patna: Construction work of the Virat Ramayan Mandir, coming up near Kesariya in East Champaran district around 130km north of Patna and billed as the world's largest Hindu temple, has not yet started for lack of clearance from the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Kishore Kunal, secretary of the Mahavir Mandir Trust behind the temple, said they were unaware about the need for NGT clearance until the tribunal halted work on the Patna mall that was to come up on land owned by RJD chief Lalu Prasad's family.

"We were about to start work but thank God the issue of Lalu ji's mall hit the headlines," said Kunal . "Through that episode only we came to know that it is mandatory to take environmental clearance from the NGT if any construction project area equals to or exceeds 10,000 square meters.

"We also came to know that NGT would not have given environmental clearance if we had approached it after starting the construction work," he added. So, the issue of Lalu ji's mall acted as an eye-opener for us and we have approached NGT to obtain permission. I am sure we will get the clearance in a month-and-a-half."

The upcoming temple will be 2,268ft long, 1,296ft wide and 270ft high spread across 165 acres and will boast of the world's largest shiv ling (33ft). There will also be idols of Lord Ram, Sita and Hanuman.

Kunal said the trust had taken clearance from the civil aviation ministry because the temple will be 270ft tall. The temple had earlier hit headlines when Cambodia registered its protest with the Indian external affairs ministry calling for a halt in construction work of the temple, which it alleged was a replica of its Angkor Wat temple.

L&T India is building the Virat Ramayan Mandir, which the Mahavir Mandir Trust says has "incorporated features" from temples worldwide.


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