Sri Sri event row: Don’t test our patience, says NGT to Centre

New Delhi, Mar. 9 (ANI): In a brand new hurdle for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living World Culture Festival in Delhi, the Water Resource Ministry today informed the National Green Tribune (NGT) that they have not given any permission for the event and the bench expressed its displeasure to the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The bench also pulled up the MoEF for not submitting their affidavit on the question asked by NGT yesterday.

Asking the MoEF to not test their patience, the NGT asked them flatly whether permission had been granted to build the bridge-like structure.

Later, the counsel of the Art of Living assured the bench that there will be no activity during the event which violates the NGT order and that a sufficient distance will be maintained from the river.

The NGT reiterated its question to all respondents that if any environment impact assessment was carried out regarding consequential effects of this event.

Meanwhile, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has appealed to all parties to not politicize the mega function, asserting that the World Culture Festival being organised by the Art of Living foundation on the Yamuna floodplains was an event to unite everyone.

“I appeal to all parties to not politicize the #WCF2016. It is to unite all cultures, nations, religions & ideologies. Let’s come together!,” he said in a tweet.

Earlier, the Opposition raised the issue of the Indian Army’s involvement in the construction of pontoon bridges for the World Culture Festival, creating an uproar in the Rajya Sabha.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury hit out at the Centre asking why was the Army being roped in for a private event following which the Opposition MPs raised slogans of ‘Army ka galat istemaal mat karo, raksha karo’.

In response, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is committed towards protecting environment and added that it would be wrong to doubt his commitment towards nature.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said that he was concerned about the event as the Delhi Police had also raised security concerns.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, lashed back at the Opposition saying that if a matter is pending with Tribunal, ordinarily the chair doesn’t allow the issue to be raised in the House. (ANI)

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