Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Tuesday said his event – the World Culture Festival – would not damage the banks of river Yamuna and that he would ensure the venue is developed into an eco-park,
Shankar was responding to questions after various NGOs sought action against his organisation for organising the event in an eco-sensitive zone.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had, last week, recommended a fine of Rs 120 crore. The hearing is currently underway and a decision is expected Tuesday evening.
“We want Yamuna to be clean. We will not pollute the environment. To the best of my knowledge, we haven’t cut a single tree,” the spiritual leader said, adding: “We willl leave it as a beautiful bio-diversity park.”
On Monday, Rashtrapati Bhavan in a statement issued said that President Pranab Mukherjee will not be attending the event. The president was to preside over the valedictory function on March 13.
We’ll leave it as a beautiful bio-diversity park: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on World Culture Festival venue controversy pic.twitter.com/fG7VMk3O1J
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 8, 2016
The Art of Living Foundation, founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, had earlier declined comment on the President’s decision to skip the event. It has been maintaining that the event will not cause any damage to the floodplains since no permanent construction has been done.
A huge 7-acre stage has been built on the Yamuna riverbed, and tents are being erected for the three-day event. A large number of temporary constructions, including dirt tracks from the road to the venue, are also coming up. The event is being organised to mark the 35th anniversary of the Art of Living and is being billed as the “biggest ever festival of music and dance”.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Thursday questioned the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for granting the Art of Living Foundation permission to conduct its World Culture Festival on the floodplains of the Yamuna between Mayur Vihar and the DND Flyway.
(With ANI inputs)