NEW DELHI

Panel seeks more time to assess damage to Yamuna

Ravaged:Due to the area being inundated by floodwaters, expert committee says damage caused during the World Cultural Festival, organised by the Art of Living Foundation, can be assessed only after November.file photo

Ravaged:Due to the area being inundated by floodwaters, expert committee says damage caused during the World Cultural Festival, organised by the Art of Living Foundation, can be assessed only after November.file photo  

The seven-member principal committee, headed by Water Resources Secretary Shashi Shekhar, has told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that the tentative cost of rejuvenating the Yamuna riverbed — damaged due to a cultural extravaganza organised by the Art of Living foundation — can be calculated only after November as the area is still inundated by floodwaters.

The committee, set up by the green panel and comprising senior scientists from National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, IIT-D and other agencies, was given the task of conducting a survey to determine the cost of restoration and engage any specialised agencies for the purpose.

The NGT has put the matter up for consideration on October 7.

An NGT bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim said: “We see the letter from Mr. Shekhar dated September 9, wherein he has mentioned that the task of conducting survey for determining the cost of restoration to the environment, ecology and bio-diversity could not be completed due to non-favourable conditions.”

‘Completely destroyed’

Earlier, the panel had said that the ‘World Cultural Festival’ extravaganza, held in March this year, had “completely destroyed” the riverbed.

Sri Sri Ravishankar's Art of Living had termed the NGT expert panel report as “unscientific and illogical” and sought a fresh probe by an “unbiased” panel.

The Art of Living foundation had to ultimately deposit Rs.4.75 crore as “environment compensation” with the Delhi Development Authority as directed by the NGT for damaging Yamuna’s biodiversity.

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