New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday welcomed the NGT verdict that cleared the decks for the controversial cultural extravaganza of Art of Living on the flood plains of Yamuna river and said that "politics and controversies" around the event should be "put to rest".
Delhi Government has consistently backed the AOL's World Cultural Festival saying that the constructions for the upcoming event were temporary in nature and had requested the army to build an additional pontoon bridge for the same.
Water Minister Kapil Mishra had written to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on February 16 in this regard.
"Now that NGT (National Green Tribunal) has given its verdict, all politics and controversies around AOL event should be put to rest. It's a huge cultural event to which people from 155 countries are coming. Delhi welcomes all guests," Kejriwal said in a series of tweets.
In his letter, Mishra had mentioned that a provision for around four pontoon bridges was needed for adequate and safe arrangements for people to crossover Yamuna who will be approaching the venue from Noida Link Road side.
"We have learnt that the army is making one pontoon bridge for the festival. This is not adequate for safe movement of the large gathering of people hence we request the army to build at least 1 more pontoon bridge over river Yamuna during the festival," he wrote.
Notwithstanding raging controversies, the NGT today gave permission for the three-day cultural extravaganza of Art of Living on the flood plains of Yamuna river from Friday but imposed a fine of Rs five crores on it as environmental compensation.
After posing tough questions, the Tribunal also slapped fine of Rs five lakh on DDA and Rs one lakh on Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) for not discharging statutory functions.
Meanwhile, taking note of news reports on the event, the Delhi High Court said it appears to be a "disaster" from the "ecological point of view".
The observation was made during the hearing of a PIL on the issue of unauthorised constructions on the flood plain of Yamuna in the Jaitpur and Mithapur areas of the national capital....