The Uttarakhand forest officials have prevented a joint team of Patanjali Ayurved and the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering from installing a statue weighing about 100 kg in the reserved forest area of the Uttarkashi district, reported The Indian Express on September 5.

The Forest Conservation Act prevents any forest land from being used for non-forest purposes and its allocation to any private authority without prior approval from the central government.

According to Uttarkashi District Forest Officer DP Baluni, the team was given permission by the Govind National Park and the forest department only for an expedition to explore rare medicinal herbs of the Himalayas.

A 35-member team was going to attempt to scale the 5,200-metre-high Horn of Harsil Peak. “There are several rare medicinal herbs hidden in the Himalayas,” said Patanjali chairperson Balakrishna. “With the help of NIM’s expertise, we will try to search for and keep a record of these herbs so that they can be used for the benefit of mankind.”

Although Balakrishna had said in a press conference that they wished to install a statue of deity Dhanvantari in the Himalayas, no permission was sought from the forest officials, reported The Indian Express.

“After they applied, they were issued permission to go through the forest area with some directions,” Baluni told the newspaper. “When they left, I came to know about their plan to install a statue. As this would be in violation of the Forest Conservation Act, I said we cannot allow that.”

The forest officer informed the range officer of the team’s plan and directed him to stop them. Following this, the team agreed not to install the statue and took it back. “If they try to install it, we will remove the statue,” Baluni added.