New Delhi: With the National Green Tribunal posing tough questions to the Centre and raising some environmental concerns, the suspense over the fate of the Art of Living’s controversial “World Culture Festival” deepened on Tuesday amid speculation on whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would inaugurate the three-day event that begins on Friday.
President Pranab Mukherjee has already cancelled plans to attend Sunday’s valedictory session. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said on Tuesday that a “biodiversity park” would be build in that area.
NGT order on event today
The NGT, that is hearing a petition seeking a ban on the extravagant event to mark the 35th anniversary of the foundation, will pronounce its order Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in the wake of fresh terror threats, the home ministry directed the Delhi Police to take all possible steps to ensure peace during the event and to make sure no stampede-like situation arises. The Art of Living Foundation said that due to security issues, the National Security Guards had taken over the venue.
The NGT bench, headed by its chief Swantanter Kumar, asked the environment ministry to submit an affidavit on why no environmental clearance was required for erecting structures on the Yamuna flood plains for the event even as stakeholders passed the buck to each other during the court hearing on Tuesday.
The NGT also raised questions over the building of a pontoon bridge by the Army on the river. The green body has sought a response from the environment and forests ministry after its counsel said they found no debris at the site when an expert team visited, and that the environment impact assessment notification of 2006 did not mandate any environment clearance for temporary structures.
The bench reprimanded the Delhi Development Authority for giving permission to set up a pontoon bridge. The Army was asked to construct the pontoon bridge to prevent any possible stampede at the event....