After the expert committee formed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) told that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of living (AOL) would cost Rs 42.02 crore besides additional ancillary expenses, Delhi water minister Kapil Mishra slammed NGT and stated that the cultural fest should be held only on the floodplain and that “it should be held over and over again”.
As reported by The Indian Express, sarcastically blasting at the report by NGT, Mishra said, “It makes one feel as though dolphins were swimming in the river before the festival. There were thousands of birds, and tourists from around the world came to see the Yamuna. It was Sri Sri who made the river dirty… He did so much damage that it will take a whole 10 years to restore it.”
Stating that keeping people away from the river will be of no help, Mishra, as quoted by The Indian Express, said, “There was no permanent construction on the floodplain. Those who say the festival damaged the floodplain should instead go to the river and work for it.”
Restoration of Yamuna floodplains, ravaged due to a cultural extravaganza organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living (AOL) last year, would cost Rs 42.02 crore besides additional ancillary expenses, an expert committee has told the National Green Tribunal. The expert panel has suggested that there would be two components of rehabilitation plan — physical and biological– and they would cost Rs 28.73 crore and Rs l3.29 crore respectively. Elaborating the timeline and the mechanism to be undertaken to ensure revival of the riverbed, the seven-member panel said the physical component should be taken up immediately and completed in two years’ time while the biological aspect should be initiated simultaneously which would take 10 years.
Besides the two components, the rehabilitation of the floodplain would also require funds to meet the expenses of a team of experts for next 10 years along with the cost of transportation of material outside the riverbed, the committee said. These estimates are approximate and need to be strengthened through commissioning of Detailed Project Report. The apportionment of ecological rehabilitation cost may be made between AOL and other agencies by NGT, it said.
(With inputs from agencies)