New Delhi: After the seven member expert committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday submitted that the cultural extravaganza organised by Sri Sri Ravishankar on the bank of the Yamuna completely destroyed the riverbed, the Art of Living (AOL) foundation has hit back, alleging the probe committee’s claim as fraud.
"They took a 45-minute walk and said there was 220 crores damage. But there was no scientific listing of what was damaged, no quantification," reports quoted Prabhakar Rao, an environment expert arguing on behalf of AOL as saying.
The expert committee appointed by the NGT to look into the damages caused by the ‘World Culture Festival’, had submitted that the floodplain area between DND flyover and the Barapulla drain has been completely destroyed, not just simply damaged.
Citing that that the ground was now totally levelled, compacted and hardened and totally devoid of water bodies or depressions it said, “The site is almost completely devoid of any vegetation. The area where the grand stage was erected is heavily consolidated. Huge amount of earth and debris have been dumped to construct the ramps for access from the DND flyover and from the two pontoon bridges across the Barapulla drain.”
The committee headed by Shashi Shekhar, Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, and senior scientists and experts from National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, IIT, Delhi and among other agencies, in its 47-page report, said that due to three-day event, the levelling of the floodplain rendered many organisms homeless, driven away by intense activity and many were consigned to graves under the debris.
“This is invisible loss of biodiversity which cannot be easily assessed and most may never be able to return. Far more significant changes are expected in the micro-organisms which are critical to ecosystem functioning," it said....