A parallel ‘scientific’ report prepared by a team of environmentalists roped in by Art of Living has claimed that no damage was done to the Yamuna floodplains in Delhi in 2016.
On Wednesday, the National Green Tribunal-appointed panel claimed that the three-day event organised by Art of Living had caused extensive damage to the food plains in 2016. The report suggested that it would take at least 10 years and more than Rs42 crores to fix the damage.
“We have submitted a separate scientific report to the green tribunal which says that no damage has been done to the flood plains which could be attributed to the Art of Living event in 2016,” Jaideep Nath, spokesman of Art of Living told HT on Thursday.
The Art of Living’s report that runs up to 200 pages including pictures of the flood plains was prepared by a team of 10 environmentalists. Five other environmentalists were roped into the board as consultants. The NGT’s panel comprised seven experts.
Both the reports were placed before the NGT a few months ago. The next hearing is scheduled on April 20. On Wednesday the report submitted by the NGT panel was revealed.
The report submitted by the NGT’s panel claimed that ecology of more than 420 acres of floodplains on both banks of the Yamuna was adversely affected by the three-day event.
“We can’t disclose the matter of the report as it has been submitted to the tribunal. All we can say that our report is based on facts and figures that have been prepared by experts and environmentalists,” said Nath.
On Thursday, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar tweeted: “Truth will always triumph. However before that, lies will have their dance. Just wait and watch.”
A statement issued by the Art of Living later in the day claimed that the report brought out the NGT-panel was completely “flawed, unscientific and biased”
The statement also claimed: “We will fight for truth to triumph”
“The scientific report which we have submitted hasn’t been heard yet in the NGT. It needs to be discussed at length. We have decided to wait till the final hearing before we can decide on our future course of action,” said Nath.
The tribunal had allowed the festival in 2016, saying that as the matter was ‘fait accompli’, they could not ban it. The three day World Cultural Festival held in March 2016, soon grabbed headlines for allegedly polluting and harming the ecosystems at the Yamuna floodplains.
An interim environment compensation of five crore was imposed on the Ravi Shankar’s foundation, for their environment damaging activities, by the NGT, while efforts were made to ascertain the exact costs of the damage.