Rs 42 cr and 10 years: Damage from AoL's culture fest on Yamuna floodplains

Photo: Art of Living Twitter Handle

It would take Rs 42.02 crore and a decade for the ecological rehabilitation of the Yamuna floodplains from adverse damages caused by the Art of Living's (AoL) World Culture Festival, says the report of an expert committee.

The report of the seven-member expert committee, headed by former Secretary of Water Resources Ministry Shashi Shekhar, has informed the National Green Tribunal( NGT) about the ecological damage caused to over 300 acres of floodplains due to the AoL's festival last year. The performance stage alone was seven acres in area.

The event, organised by spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar, saw over three million attendees from 155 countries over a three-day period between March 11 and 13, 2016. The attendees include several ministers, Chief Ministers and diplomats.

"The proposed budget covers all the activities to be carried out under biological rehabilitation. The budget required for this is about Rs 1,329 lakh over a period of 10 years," says the report titled "Ecological Rehabilitation of the Adversely Impacted Floodplains of the River Yamuna due to World Culture Festival organised by AoL".

The report further states: "The physical and biological components of ecological rehabilitation of the site would cost about Rs 4,202 lakh plus expenditure on the monitoring by a team of experts for ten years plus cost of transportation of material outside the floodplain."

The event was held on the left bank of the river between the Barapullah elevated road and the DND flyway.

The experts have estimated that approximately 300 acres of floodplains west (right bank) of the river Yamuna and about 120 acres floodplains of the eastern side (left bank) of the river have been "adversely impacted" ecologically at "different magnitudes".

"These 170 hectares do not include parking lots near Barapullah drain," says the report.

The restoration costs include the amount of dumped material to be removed, the depth to which the dumped material to be excavated and identification of location where the excavated material can be transported and disposed off.

The AoL has criticised the report stating it was deliberately leaked to the media and that some members of the committee are biased.

"This was expected of them as their malafide intentions to malign us has been evident since the beginning... We have been victims of a conspiracy and we will fight for the truth to come out," said AoL spokesperson Kedar Desai, adding that the AoL is an environment sensitive NGO.


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