Praising the work done by Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living (AOL) Foundation in restoring the Yamuna’s floodplains, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati Monday said the place had become so “beautiful” that she was left wondering if it was the same place.
On Sunday evening, Bharati had visited the site where AOL had organised its World Culture Festival. The event, which involved setting up a massive stage and other temporary structures, besides flattening the ground, had drawn flak from environmentalists for the potential damage it caused to the floodplains.
The National Green Tribunal, which had been approached by environmentalists to get the event cancelled, had ordered the foundation to pay an interim compensation of Rs 5 crore and carry out the restoration work as advised by a expert committee appointed by the court. The committee is yet to submit its report.
“I have seen that place (the site of the event) thousands of times. It was in such a bad condition. When I visited the place yesterday, I was left wondering if I was looking at the same place. They (the foundation) have spent so much money in leveling the place again. I really thank Ravi Shankar for making the place so beautiful. My attempt will now be to maintain this beauty,” Bharati told The Indian Express.
“If the government had to do the same thing, we would still be trying to decide which department’s responsibility it is to carry out the work,” she added.