A mega cultural festival organized by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living foundation on the banks of the river Yamuna appeared to be on shaky grounds as the Delhi government told a green court on Tuesday that no police or fire safety clearance had been given for the event.
Following the furore over the event, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Tuesday defended the event, saying not a single tree has been cut and the ecological stability has been maintained during the preparations.
“We’ll leave it as a beautiful bio-diversity park. As per my knowledge, not even a single tree has been cut down, we’ve only trimmed four trees. We want Yamuna to be clean. We will not pollute the environment. We haven’t cut a single tree,” spiritual guru said.
Anand Arya, the complainant who has raised objections to the three-day World Cultural Fest being organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living foundation, has said that the event would cause irreparable damage to the delicate ecosystem of Yamuna floodplains.
“Our only complaint is that, it (event) will cause serious damage to eco-system and bio-diversity in the area. There should not be any temporary or permanent structure in that area,” Arya said.
“Although recreation activity is permitted, but all these have to done according to the biodiversity and the ecosystem. The ground water recharge that supports water for 40 per cent of Delhi will be affected due to this event,” he added.
The reactions from Sri Sri came at a time when the NGT is hearing a plea moved by several NGOs and environmental activists against the World Culture Festival.
While the NGT slammed the DDA for overlooking various environmental issues, the Army defended its move to construct two pontoon bridges on the Yamuna river for the event.
Clarifying on the issue, the Defence Ministry said that the Army pitched in to help in building supporting infrastructure for the event in view of security and safety of lakhs of people who are expected to attend the event from March 11 to 13 on grounds adjacent to the Yamuna river near Mayur Vihar.