As it happened | World Cultural Festival to be held at banks of Yamuna

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 09, 2016 17:41 IST
Newly constructed buildings at Yamuna River belt. Massive construction is underway on the Yamuna bank along the DND for a World Cultural Festival by Art of Living. (Ravi Choudhary/ Hindustan Times)

Ravi Shankar’s mass festival on the banks of the river Yamuna to be held this weekend has been allowed with conditions by the National Green Tribunal. The tribunal slapped a fine of Rs 5 crore as compensation to be paid by Art of Living foundation before the event.

5.15pm: NGT grants Ravi Shankar permission to hold World Cultural Festival on banks of Yamuna

4:00 pm Art of Living counsel told NGT that total cost for creating venue of this event is 15.63 crore, in addition to 10 crore for decoration. The verdict in the case is expected in the next 5 minutes.

1: 15 pm - Delhi government informs the NGT that the Central Public Works Department has asked Art of Living to build a separate stage for the PM due to issues over structural safety.

1:07 pm - NGT asks Delhi Pollution Control Committee if it can allow enzymes in river Yamuna without examination. NGT asks Centre, Delhi govt, DDA if any environment impact assessment was carried out regarding preparation & consequential effects of AOL event.

12: 40 pm - Minutes after the uproar in Parliament over the use or armed forces for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s World Culture Festival being organised by the Art of Living foundation on the Yamuna floodplains, the former tweeted asking nations to not politicise the event.

1 2: 20 pm NGT asks Delhi govt about source of water at Art of Living event

As the Delhi Policeraised serious security concerns over the World Culture Festival being organised by the Art of Living foundation on the Yamuna floodplains, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday asked the Union water resources ministry and the Delhi government about the source of water at the event. It also pulled up Environment ministry over clearance to a event of such grand scale in Delhi.

The tribunal even asked Delhi Pollution Control Committee if they have ever seen such a construction for a cultural festival before and asked where would the waste from the festival be dumped?

On Tuesday, NGT pulled up the Delhi Development Authority for debris dumped in the Yamuna and asked it as to what their quick reaction team was doing when the debris was allegedly brought and dumped by the Art of Living Foundation.

Meanwhile, a DCP rank officer, who inspected the venue on March 1 along with his team, in a report submitted to the Ministry of Urban Development, Art of Living, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma raised serious question about the preparation and safety arrangements.

12:00 pm Naqvi defends Sri Sri’s mega event

The opposition on Wednesday criticised the government in the Rajya Sabha for using army personnel for a three-day World Cultural Festival being organised by Art of Living on the Yamuna floodplains here.

The issue was raised by Sharad Yadav (JD-U) and other members during Zero Hour.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said army deployment was from security point of view.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said he was concerned about the event as Delhi Police had also raised security concerns.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is Leader of the House, said it was not proper to raise the issue in the Rajya Sabha when a tribunal is hearing it.

“Rule 69 makes it absolutely clear that when a tribunal is hearing cannot be raised,” Jaitley said. Opposition members, however, remained dissatisfied.

11: 20 am Ruckus in Parliament over Sri Sri event on Yamuna floodbanks

There was an uproar in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday over Sri Sri Ravishanka’s World Culture Event scheduled to be held on the banks of the Yamuna from 11 to 13 February. The parliament began debating the ‘misregularities’ by the central govt for Sri Sri’s event in Delhi. The oppossition demanded answers on why the army was roped in for a private function.

CPI ( M) leader Sitamram Yechury asked “How can Indian Army assist in this”?

Green panel questions bridge built by army

Green Panel also questioned the building up of pontoon bridge by the Army on river Yamuna for the festival.

World Culture Festival organised by Art of Living is scheduled to be held from March 11 to 13 on the banks of the Yamuna.

Sri Sri defends event

Earlier, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar defended the event, saying not a single tree has been cut and the ecological stability has been maintained during the preparations.

“We are asserting that we will turn the place into a beautiful bio diversity park once we are finished with it. Since 2010, our volunteers have been working hard to clean the river and around 512 tonnes of dirt and garbage has been fished out. We want to save the Yamuna. We have not cut a single tree and have maintained ecological stability. We want to see Yamuna transformed into a beauty again,” said Ravi Shankar.

SPG declares Sri Sri’s Yamuna event unsafe for PM visit: report

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate event on Friday but NDTV quoted a report prepared by Special Protection Group (SPG) as saying that the venue of the festival is not secure enough for him to visit.

MHA asks police to ensure security in World Cultural Festival

The Centre has asked Delhi Police to ensure full security to ‘World Culture Festival’, in view of “terror threat” in the country. The Home Ministry, in a communication, has advised the national capital’s police to take all possible steps to ensure peace during the three-day event to be held at Yamuna flood plains. The Delhi Police has also been asked to ensure that no stampede-like situation should arise during the function, official sources said.

The Home Ministry advisory came in the wake of heightened terror threat following inputs that 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad terrorists have entered India from Pakistan through Gujarat.

Defence ministry told army to build bridges for Sri Sri event

The Indian Army was directed by the defence ministry to build floating bridges for Art of Living’s upcoming event on the Yamuna floodplain after the Delhi Police expressed fears of a stampede at the venue, ministry and army officials said Tuesday.

The army’s effort to build two pontoon bridges have come under criticism amid growing opposition to the March 11 event that critics say will damage the eco-sensitive Yamuna floodplain.

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