Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art Of Living terms NGT panel report ‘unscientific’

"We have requested the NGT to set up an unbiased committee. Our application is yet to be taken up by the tribunal," environment expert Prabhakar Rao said.

By: PTI | Noida | Published: August 19, 2016 2:03 pm
art of living, sri sri ravi shankar, world culture festival, AOL, yamuna bank, ngt, rajya sabha, ngt art of living, ngt yamuna bank, aol event, yamuna floodplain, sri sri,  art of living foundation, national green tribunal, yamuna, opposition, indian government, delhi news, india new AOL lawyer Kedar Desai and environment expert Prabhakar Rao said that “no damage” was caused to the environment due to the event held in March.

Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art of Living has termed as “unscientific and illogical” a National Green Tribunal panel’s report, which held that AOL’s three-day “World Cultural Festival” caused damage to the Yamuna riverbed.

Demanding a fresh probe by an “unbiased” panel, AOL lawyer Kedar Desai and environment expert Prabhakar Rao told a press conference here that “no damage” was caused to the environment due to the event held in March.

“The area was not notified as wetlands but as floodplains only. In the Delhi Wetland Atlas, there is no mention of any wetland at the site where the event was held,” said Rao.

“The Committee, in its report, has not quantified the damage. Earlier, it had estimated the damage at Rs. 120 crore. Now they are saying…they cannot provide a figure,” said Rao.

“How can a panel go against their own estimate? The Committee has submitted two satellite images only. One of the period before the event and the other of the period after it was wrapped up.

“We have requested the NGT to set up an unbiased committee. Our application is yet to be taken up by the tribunal,” he said.

“Multiplicity of data is required to assess the exact situation. Even the weeds in the river cleared by the government by spending crores of rupees were claimed to be damaged by the event. We have provided scientific data to prove that no damage was done by the event,” Rao said.

“We have faith in the judiciary and hope that the NGT will ensure justice. We will again submit our objections to the report to NGT and seek fresh unbiased committee probe,” Desai said.

The tribunal had directed the seven-member expert committee headed by Shashi Shekhar, Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, and senior scientists and experts from National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, IIT, Delhi and other agencies to inspect the site.

The committee, in its 47-page report, has observed that entire floodplain area used for the main event site i.e. between DND flyover and the Barapulla drain (on the right bank of river Yamuna) “has been completely destroyed, not simply damaged”.

“The ground is now totally levelled, compacted and hardened and is totally devoid of water bodies or depressions and almost completely devoid of any vegetation,” the expert committee had on Tuesday told the tribunal.

The panel has said that due to the event, the floodplain has lost “almost all its natural vegetation” like trees, shrubs, tall grasses, aquatic vegetation including water hyacinth which provides habitat to large number of animals, insects and mud-dwelling organisms.

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  1. S
    Aug 19, 2016 at 8:16 pm
    Aaree yaar, ab bas bhi karo lootnaa, Art of Looting since 35 years. The commander in chief of AOL can do some Sudarshan Kriya to dissolve his mive ego and fame seeking greed. Fooled the world enough, now stop it and take sannays or face legal consequences.
    1. B
      b khosla
      Aug 19, 2016 at 12:39 pm
      Modern day's Godmen.
      1. P
        Prof B
        Aug 19, 2016 at 10:12 am
        AOL leader has gone made; he must accept that any activity of such a magnitude on Yamuna floodplains is bound to affect ecosystem and its biodiversity. As a scientist who has some knowledge of the floodplains working for last three decade, I find hard to digest the protest and blames of AOL spiritual leader. I still wonder and contest why such an activity was permitted by NGT at all in spite of protests against it by several of us as environmentalists. My only request to NGT and GOI is that AOL must be held account for the damage and bear the cost of reclamation. I flout any claim that neither biodiversity nor this this ecosystem can ever be restored. Tall claims by AOL were nothing else but sheer lies.
        1. P
          Prof B
          Aug 19, 2016 at 12:20 pm
          Having an experience, expertise and understanding of ecology and biodiversity of floodplains of India for over three decades, I shall like to an un-biased volunteer to take up work of monitoring report (if required) with an urance to bring out facts and reality to public domain.
          1. O
            Aug 19, 2016 at 11:39 am
            A Yogi is not to sell Yoga. He should not sit over funds and real estate. He should not blacken his hair and use make up and keep him surrounded by photogenic girls. He should not seek all opportunities for public attention. He should not accept honours from the Government and at the same time boast of declining a Nobel. He should not offer peace to the ISIS as he has no authority for the same. He should brush up his knowledge on Gita and Upanishads so as not to mix up verses. One among the so many in marketing Yoga , he is in business and pay up his dues to the Government.
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