Art of Living's mega cultural fest under NGT scanner

Art of Living's mega cultural fest under NGT scanner

A three-day World Culture Festival to be organised by Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art of Living Foundation here next month has hit a roadblock with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) admitting a plea to stop the mega event on the Yamuna floodplains.

Hearing on a petition filed by Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan convener Manoj Mishra, a bench headed by NGT chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar on Thursday directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to submit to it all documents on the basis of which permission was granted for the event to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The NGT bench also sought the DDA to carry out an inspection of the event’s venue and submit a report to it in a week, issuing notices to the Delhi government as well as Art of Living Foundation asking for their response.

While the cultural festival is to be inaugurated by Modi on March 11, President Pranab Mukherjee will be attending the valedictory function on March 13, according to the Art of Living Foundation’s website.

The mega event is scheduled to be held in Mayur Vihar area of East Delhi to mark 35 years of ‘The Art of Living Foundation’. “The venue for the festival will cover an area of 1000 acres and will witness the world’s largest stage set-up spread over an area of 7 acres,” a press statement issued on behalf of the Art of Living said.

In his petition, Mishra accused the Art of Living Foundation of having started some construction work on the Yamuna floodplains for holding the event in violation of NGT orders.

“It is stated that the Art of Living International Center recently started construction on the Yamuna floodplains for organising the festival from March 11-13.  For which, illegal and unauthorised dumping and construction in the active floodplains of river Yamuna in Delhi is taking place over some 25 hectares upstream of the DND flyway,” a news agency reported, quoting from Mishra’s petition.

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