Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art Of Living To Build Biodiversity Park On Yamuna

08/03/2016 7:37 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NOIDA, INDIA - FEBRUARY 5: (EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an exclusive shoot of Hindustan Times) Indian Spiritual leader and founder of The Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravi Shankar during an exclusive interview on February 5, 2016 IN Noida, India. The spiritual leader spoke to HT on the occasion of Art of Living completing 35 years of service to humanity as an educational and humanitarian movement. He revealed plans to host the World Culture Festival in Delhi from March 11 to March 13. The event will see participation from more than 35,000 artists and over 3.5 million people from over 155 countries, to give out the message that the whole world is one family and that we can all co-exist with our differences. (Photo by Raajessh Kashyap/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, under fire for organising a massive event on the Yamuna floodplain, said on Tuesday his organisation will build a "biodiversity park" in that area and rubbished allegations of ecological harm.

Ravi Shankar told reporters here that not a single tree has been cut in the run up to the World Cultural Festival to be held between March 11-13 and that four trees have only been trimmed in the riverine area.

"Villagers said that their buffaloes never went near the water in the past. Now I have been informed by the them that those buffaloes have entered the water. The villagers are very happy.

"We will leave the place after making a biodiversity park there. In the past, our volunteers have brought out 512 tonne of garbage from Yamuna. We have not cut any trees, have just trimmed four. We want a clean Yamuna and we care about the environment," Ravi Shankar said.

The event, slated to take place between March 11-13 on the west bank of Yamuna floodplain near DND flyover, has been organised to celebrate 35 years of The Art of Living. It is being supported by the Centre and the Delhi government among others, and is expected to attract around 35 lakh people.

It has come under the scanner of National Green Tribunal after a set of petitions were filed demanding its cancellation over concerns of potential permanent damage to the riverbed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the event on Friday and President Pranab Mukherjee was to attend the valedictory function on Sunday.

However, Mukherjee yesterday pulled out of the event in the wake of controversy citing "unavoidable circumstances".

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