Photo: Sanjeev Verma/HT
Photo: Sanjeev Verma/HT

Yamuna pollution: NGT issues notices to Delhi govt, Art of Living Foundation

The National Green Tribunal asked Delhi Development Authority to submit all documents on the basis of which permission was granted for AOL event

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday issued notices to the Delhi government, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Art of Living (AOL) Foundation on a plea seeking to stop a three-day event to celebrate 35 years of AOL on the Yamuna floodplains in east Delhi.

The notices were issued by a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar.

The NGT asked DDA to submit all the documents on the basis of which permission was granted for the event. The tribunal also asked the authority to inspect the site along with professor A.K. Gosain of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, and submit a status report.

The World Culture Festival 2016, 11-13 March, is being organized by AOL Foundation, headed by Sri Sri Ravishankar, to commemorate 35 years of the foundation. AOL has a presence in 155 countries and followers from across the world are expected to attend the event.

The NGT notices came on the plea of environmentalist Manoj Misra, who sought stoppage of the ongoing construction work on the floodplains of the Yamuna. Misra is the convenor of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, a civil society campaign to save the river.

In his petition, Misra highlighted that in 2010 and 2011, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar campaigned extensively for keeping Yamuna pollution free and thus it is surprising that the organization he heads is now resorting to activities, which will pollute the Yamuna and cause irreparable damage to its environment.

Misra said that he learnt from AOL’s website about the latter’s plans to bring in some 3.5 million people from the world over for the event.

He also pointed out that the event would be in violation of earlier NGT orders wherein any construction activity in the demarcated flood plains of the Yamuna are prohibited.

Misra also appealed to NGT to impose exemplary fines on DDA and AOL for non-compliance with the tribunal’s orders. The case will come up for hearing on 17 February.

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