AOL event near Yamuna ‘disaster’: Delhi HC

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New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) Delhi High Court on Wednesday said holding the World Culture Festival on the Yamuna flood plain appears to be a disaster from the ecological point of view.

“It’s (event) a disaster,” a division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva observed while taking note of news reports on the Art of Living Foundation’s cultural mega-event from March 11 to 13.

The court’s observation came while hearing a public interest litigation on the unauthorised constructions on the river’s flood plain in Jaitpur and Mithapur areas of Delhi.

“That (event) is a disaster from ecological point of view due to removal of shrubs and trees. The area has been flattened. You (government) have given permission for a big pandal on the flood plain.”

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As for the case on hand, the court ordered that no further unauthorised construction will take place in both the areas.

It said the government should consider making the structures in the area compliant with building by-laws as well as seismic zone IV norms in case unauthorised colonies there were to be regularised.

If an earthquake or flood hits Delhi, these areas would be the most vulnerable and there could be massive loss of lives, the bench pointed out.

The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday slapped an initial fine of Rs.5 crore on spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living, but declined to stay the holding of the World Culture Festival on the fragile Yamuna flood plain.

It also pulled up the government, saying the authorities had failed to discharge their duties.

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The tribunal also imposed a fine of Rs.5 lakh on the Delhi Development Authority and a fine of Rs.1 lakh on the Delhi Pollution Control Committee.

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