New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal today reserved its verdict on the issue of damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains where a cultural extravaganza was organized last year by the Art of Living foundation.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar heard the submissions of all concerned parties, including the ministry of environment, forests and climate change, which said that as per a 2006 environment impact assessment report, no environmental clearance was needed for the festival.
It heard the arguments of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and spiritual guru Ravi Shankar's Art of Living (AOL).
"Heard. Arguments concluded. Counsel for respondent 3 (AOL) has been permitted to make submission for recapitulation of points recorded earlier. Judgement reserved," the bench said.
During the proceedings, the counsel for applicant Manoj Misra argued that severe damage has been done to the river and it must be restored by the concerned authorities.
The counsel for the DDA informed the bench that it has plans for Yamuna riverbed beautification, afforestation, development of wetland and ecological restoration, adding that it would need 7-8 months for the tendering process for the two phases of Yamuna Floodplain Development Program.
Earlier, the AOL foundation had questioned the findings of an expert committee of the NGT on the damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains after its 3-day cultural event.
The expert panel had told the NGT that a whopping Rs 42.02 crore would be required to restore Yamuna floodplains which was ravaged due to the cultural extravaganza held from March 11-13, 2016.
The NGT had slammed the DDA for casting aspersions on the findings of its expert committee on the damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains due to this cultural event.
The green panel had questioned the DDA for granting nod to AOL, despite three initial rejections and said the civic body should have exercised proper caution while granting approval to the cultural extravaganza.
The three-day-festival had reportedly destroyed the fragile wetland ecology of the Yamuna flood plains beyond repair.