The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has begun the hearing of the plea that seeks to stop construction of temporary structure on the flood plains of Yamuna for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living World Culture Festival in Delhi. The hearing bench of NGT is chaired by Swatanter Kumar on Tuesday asked the Ministry of Environment and Forest to file an affidavit and spell out why no environmental clearance is needed for raising temporary structures. Delhi govt informs NGT that CPWD has asked AOL to build a separate stage for PM due to issues over structural safety.
NGT asks Delhi Pollution Control Committee if it can allow enzymes in river Yamuna without examination. NGT asks Centre, Delhi govt, DDA if any environment impact assessment was carried out regarding preparation & consequential effects of AOL event. As the serious security concerns were raised by Delhi Police over the World Culture Festival being organised by the Art of Living foundation on the Yamuna floodplains, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday asked the Union water resources ministry and the Delhi government about the source of water at the event. NGT pulls up Environment ministry over clearance to an event of such grand scale in Delhi.
The tribunal even enquired from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee if there was any event of this kind before and enquired where the waste from the festival would be dumped. On Tuesday, NGT pulled up the Delhi Development Authority for debris dumped in the Yamuna and asked it as to what their quick reaction team was doing when the debris was allegedly brought and dumped by the Art of Living Foundation.
Activists have already pointed out violation of environmental laws that took place in the event. Earlier, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar defended the event, saying that the flora and fauna is not being damaged and they are trying that the ecological balance is maintained. Sri Sri even mentioned that they are about to change the place into a biodiversity park and since 2010 they are trying to clean the river Yamuna. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar even asked not to politicise the Art of Living event.
Earlier on Wednesday several questions were raised in the Rajya Sabha by the opposition regarding these arrangements made in this event. They questioned the deployment of army for the construction of floating bridges. Even the construction of floating bridges on the river bank is questioned by environmentalists.
The Art of Living Authorities while answering the National Green Tribunal said that the construction that is made is not a permanent one. Any mishap in the event will lead to the damage of the country's image all over the world as people from 155 countries will be a part of this event. They even mentioned no wastage will be released in the river and they will move out by March 14.
Amidst all the hue and cry in Delhi, the Central Government over the Art of Living event defended the event of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar by saying that the event is taking place with all permissions. "Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is committed to environment protection and the programme was "being conducted with all permissions and is not illegal", Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.