Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh High Court has stayed the construction work of 108-feet high statue of Adi Shankaracharya to be built on a 54-feet high platform in Omkareshwar in Khandwa District.
The division bench headed by Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Vishal Mishra has also issued a notice to the state government and sought a response in view of the damage to nature and neglect of the local public faith.
The court’s decision came while hearing a petition challenging the construction of ‘Statue of Oneness’ (Adi Shankaracharya), an ambitious project of the BJP-led State Government.
The petitioner — Lokhit Abhiyan Samiti (an Indore-based NGO) had opposed the cutting of trees and digging up of the mountain.
During the hearing, the counsellor appearing for the NGO argued that “cutting of number of trees and digging of the mountain for construction of the ‘Statue of Oneness’ would damage natural beauty of the area.”
Upon hearing, the court issued a notice to the state government and sought a response in view of the damage to nature and neglect of local public faith by this project.
The court also summoned a reply from the Khandwa Collector, DFO and Revenue Officer and the State Archaeological Department.
Notably, Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s cabinet had approved the proposal to build a 108-feet tall statue of the 8th century Indian philosopher Adi Shankaracharya, along with a museum dedicated to him and an International Advaita Vedanta Sansthan at Omkareshwar at a cost of Rs. 2,141 Crore.
Shankaracharya is known for consolidating the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, a Hindu school of philosophy. On November 5 last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a 12-feet statue of Shankaracharya at the Kedarnath Temple in Uttarakhand.
The project is being constructed under the supervision of the Madhya Pradesh’s culture and tourism department on Mandhata Parvat hill facing the river Narmada in Khandwa.