Stopping World Culture Festival will not serve any purpose: DDA to NGT

New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) told the National Green Tribunal on Thursday that stopping the Art of Living Foundation’s World Culture Festival to be held here this month will not serve any purpose.

No permanent construction has taken place at the site; stage, ramps, pontoon bridges and other structures are temporary, made of mud without using any concrete, DDA’s counsel Rajeev Bansal told the tribunal.

He said the structures will be removed upon the conclusion of the event, and so stopping the festival at this juncture will not serve any purpose.

The festival, organised by spiritual guru Ravi Shankar’s the Art of Living Foundation, is scheduled to be held from March 11 to 13 on a site that is thought to be a part of the environmentally sensitive flood plains of the Yamuna river.

The NGT has given DDA four days to furnish the details of the event. The next hearing of the case has been fixed for March 7.

Environmental activist Manoj Mishra, who filed the plea against the holding of the festival, has insisted that the event should not only be stopped but the tribunal should also impose a fine on the organisers.

“The small water bodies that existed earlier have been filled up, all natural vegetation has also been removed while most of the trees too have been brought down. The preparations for the event have had a severe impact on the environment. Therefore, the event should not only be stopped, in fact Art of Living must be fined and same quantum of punishment should also be imposed on DDA,” Mishra told reporters.

The Art of Living Foundation said in a statement that the festival is likely to be attended over three days by more than 35 lakh people from 155 countries.

According to some estimates, about 35,000 people are expected to gather at the temporarily constructed site on the Yamuna flood plains.

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