Art of Living destroyed Yamuna floodplain: Expert panel tells NGT
In what could spell trouble for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, an expert panel constituted by the NGT said that the Art of living was responsible for destroying Yamuna floodplains. The panel was constituted to access the damage after the AOL's 'World Culture Festival'. In a report submitted to the NGT, the panel has claimed that it would take Rs 13.29 crore and almost 10 years for rehabilitation of the Yamuna floodplains.
The expert panel in a 47-page report held Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living responsible for causing extensive damage during their cultural extravaganza held between March 11 to March 13, 2016. The seven-member, expert panel headed by Shashi Shekhar, Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, has told the NGT that major restoration work has to be carried out to compensate for the damage to Yamuna floodplains.
"It has been estimated that approximately 120 hectares or about 300 acres of floodplains of the west of the river Yamuna and about 50 hectares or 120 acres floodplains of the eastern side of the river have been adversely impacted ecologically at different magnitudes. 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 area where the grand stage was erected is heavily consolidated (most likely with a different kind of external material used to level the ground and compress it). Huge amount of earth and debris have been dumped to construct the ramps for access from the DND flyover and from the two pontoon bridges across the Barapulla drain," the report said.
Art Of Living cries foul
A statement from the Art of living claimed that the report had been deliberately leaked to the media. "This was expected of them as their mala fide intentions to malign us has been evident since the beginning. The Expert Committee of the NGT who were supposed to be non-interested parties to the case and were to act as the eyes and ears of judges have given biased interviews in public while the case is sub-judice," the statement said.
The statement added that their legal team is looking into the report. Art of living claimed that it will decide upon the next course of action.