Art of Living event on Yamuna: NGT questions Centre over environmental clearance

March 08, 2016 06:31 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 04:12 am IST - New Delhi

A pontoon bridge is being built on the Yamuna for the WorldCulture Festival. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

A pontoon bridge is being built on the Yamuna for the WorldCulture Festival. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday questioned the Centre as to why no environmental clearance is required for erecting structures in Yamuna floodplains for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living three-day ‘World Culture Festival’.

“You (MoEF) file an affidavit by tomorrow (Wednesday) and tell us why no environmental clearance is needed for raising temporary structures in floodplains,” a Bench headed by NGT chairperson Swantanter Kumar said.

The direction came after counsel appearing for Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) said that they have found no debris at the site, when an expert team had visited and as per Environment Impact Assessment notification 2006, no environment clearance is needed for temporary structures.

The green panel also questioned the building up of pontoon bridge by the Army on Yamuna for the festival, and asked the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) counsel as who gave the permission for setting it up.

DDA, Delhi government, MoEF said that they have no relation with the grant of permission for setting up the pontoon bridge, as all the three said that they are concerned only with different issues.

Advocate Rajiv Bansal appearing for DDA backed the authority’s decision to grant permission for the event saying that it has given the nod with conditions that no permanent construction will be permitted without permission from the competent authority.

Art of Living in its submission said that it had taken the requisite permissions from all the authorities except from the police, which is subject to permission from fire department and they have fulfilled all the conditions.

The Bench after hearing the matter adjourned the matter for Wednesday. The NGT is hearing pleas seeking stoppage of ongoing construction on the floodplains for the cultural festival.

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