NGT to hear case against Art of Living foundation’s east Delhi event today2 min read . Updated: 20 Feb 2016, 01:38 AM IST
A report by an expert deputed by NGT says that the event can leave a permanent footprint as all existing vegetation has been cleared near Mayur Vihar area
New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) is set to hear a case on Friday against the holding of a three-day event next month by the Art of Living (AOL) foundation on the floodplains of River Yamuna near Mayur Vihar area in east Delhi, which involves extensive construction to accommodate the participants.
If AOL, headed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, is allowed to go ahead with its World Culture Festival 2016 marking its 35th anniversary, it will not only set a “bad precedent", but will also leave a permanent footprint as all existing vegetation has been cleared in the area, said a report by an expert deputed by NGT.
The inspection report by A.K. Gosain, professor in the civil engineering department in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi, also points out that the said construction and preparations are in violation of the tribunal’s January 2015 order regarding Yamuna’s flood plains.
Last week, environmentalist Manoj Misra had approached NGT and sought stoppage of the ongoing construction work on the floodplains of River Yamuna for the event. Misra is the convenor of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, a civil society campaign to save the river.
Following his plea, NGT issued notices to the Delhi government, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and AOL and also asked DDA to submit all the documents on the basis of which permission was granted for the event. It also asked DDA to inspect the site along with Gosain and submit a status report regarding alleged violations of rules and regulations.
“A gigantic stage made of steel rods is under preparation that is proposed to house thousands of artists performing simultaneously. Five pontoon bridges are under construction. A huge amount of debris and construction waste has been dumped into the Yamuna main channel close to the location of the pontoon bridge," the report said.
“In a nutshell, the activity cannot be termed as a benign activity and shall have a permanent footprint on the flood plain and if allowed shall be in complete violation of the NGT order of January 2015 and shall also set a bad precedent," said Gosain in his status report submitted to NGT.
Gosain’s inspection report, accessed by Mint, noted that massive activity of mauling a huge tract of the flood plain of Yamuna close to DND flyover is under way and it is very difficult to capture through a photograph and the impact can only be visualized after visiting the site.
The report said that “the site has been cleared of all the natural vegetation and consolidated with machinery" and it appears that the site has been raised with the help of JCBs.
“All kinds of JCB machines are plying there. Lorries are moving in and out of the site and compacting the soil with every move. Portable cabins have been installed," the report said.
“All the vehicles parking sites are in the flood plain, majority of them being on the eastern side. Thousands of vehicles are expected," it added.
AOL has a presence in 155 countries and AOL claims followers from across the world, in millions, are expected to attend the event.