Art of Living’s event under NGT scanner

Thursday, Feb 11, 2016,17:14 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | A three-day ‘World Culture Festival’ to be organised next month under the patronage of spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art of Living today came under the scanner of National Green Tribunal, which sought the Delhi government’s response on a plea seeking to stop holding of the event on Yamuna floodplains. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the Delhi government, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and Art of Living Foundation seeking stoppage of ongoing construction work on the flood plains of Yamuna.

The green panel directed DDA to submit all the documents on the basis of which permission for the event was granted to the foundation. It also asked DDA to inspect the site in question along with Professor A K Gosain of IIT and submit a status report. The event will be held from March 11-13 at Mayur Vihar in East Delhi to mark the celebration of 35 years of The Art of Living. The President and the Prime Minister have reportedly given their consent to the part of inaugural ceremony.

The Tribunal was hearing a petition by Manoj Mishra, convener of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, alleging that the Foundation has recently started construction on the Yamuna flood plains for the festival in violation of NGT orders. In a detailed judgement last year, NGT had prohibited any construction activity in the demarcated flood plains of Yamuna and asked its Principal Committee to identify structures which fall on the flood plain and recommend their demolition.

The plea, filed by advocate Rahul Choudhary, said it is stated that Art of Living International Center has recently started construction on the Yamuna flood plains for organising the festival from March 11-13, 2016 and for which illegal and unauthorised dumping & construction in the active flood plains of river Yamuna in the NCT of Delhi is taking place over some 25 hectares upstream of DND flyway.

Not only the site but in fact approach roads are also planned to be constructed from the Ring Road and the DND flyway which also involves dumping of huge amount of debris and clearing of the flood plains. In his plea, Mishra has sought imposition of exemplary fine on government agencies and the Foundation for damaging the environment and their non-compliance of the orders of the Tribunal.