NGT to resume hearing on Sri Sri’s mega event today

Sri-Double-event Workers make arrangements for the three-day World Peace Festival organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in New Delhi | PTI

The National Green Tribunal will continue to hear on Wednesday the plea seeking 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.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swantanter Kumar on Tuesday asked Ministry of Environment and Forest to file an affidavit on Wednesday and tell why no environmental clearance is needed for raising temporary structures.

The direction came after counsel appearing for the Ministry said they have found no debris at the site, when an expert team had visited. Counsel added that as per Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2006, no environment clearance is needed for temporary structures.

In Tuesday's hearing the Green Panel also questioned the building up of pontoon bridge by the Army on river Yamuna for the festival.

World Culture Festival organised by Art of Living is scheduled to be held from March 11 to 13 on the banks of the Yamuna.

Earlier, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar defended the event, saying not a single tree has been cut and the ecological stability has been maintained during the preparations.

"We are asserting that we will turn the place into a beautiful bio diversity park once we are finished with it. Since 2010, our volunteers have been working hard to clean the river and around 512 tonnes of dirt and garbage has been fished out. We want to save the Yamuna. We have not cut a single tree and have maintained ecological stability. We want to see Yamuna transformed into a beauty again," Ravi Shankar told the media here.

Sri Sri's Art of Living foundation says the event will feature yoga and meditation sessions, peace prayers and traditional cultural performances from around the world.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate event on Friday.

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