Shocked at Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Blaming Us for Yamuna Damage: NGT

Today India's top environmental court, National Green Tribunal banged Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for claiming preference in a tribunal committee's new report.

"Just because you have filed an application, who gives you the liberty to say what you want".

Meanwhile, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said the allegations that Art of Living's three-day event past year had damaged the Yamuna floodplains, were false.

However, after hearing the entire statement, NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar asked, "Who has made this statement?" He has two weeks to file objections.

"The AOL had obtained all the necessary permission including the NGT's".

Earlier this month, the green panel stated that spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living was responsible for destroying the Yamuna floodplain during the cultural extravaganza. The event could have been stopped in the beginning itself if river Yamuna was so "fragile and pure", it added.

The AOL had said it is the government and the NGT that should be fined.

The report of an expert committee set up by NGT had said it would take Rs 42.02 crore and a decade for the ecological rehabilitation of the Yamuna floodplains from adverse damages caused by the festival.

A team of experts has testified to the National Green Tribunal that the event, which included a 7-acre stage for musicians and dancers and sprawled across 1,000 acres, had "completely destroyed" the riverbed. From Rs.120 cr for wetlands to Rs.13 cr for flood plains! "From permanent damage to 10 years", he said.

The expert committee was headed by Shashi Shekhar, the Union secretary water resources.

"The ground is now totally levelled, compacted and hardened and is totally devoid of water bodies or depressions and nearly completely devoid of any vegetation", the 47-page report also said. From damage to wetlands, they are now saying damage to floodplains.

"The area where the grand stage was erected (and the area immediately behind it) is heavily consolidated - most likely with a different kind of external material used to level the ground and compress it".

  • Leroy Wright