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Art Of Living Foundation Accuses NGT Of Bias Following Its Damning Report On Destruction Of Yamuna Floodplains

"It would cost ₹42 crore and a decade to set right the ecological damage..."

13/04/2017 4:35 PM IST | Updated 13/04/2017 5:28 PM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images

NEW DELHI -- The Art of Living (AoL) on Thursday said an expert committee report that quantifies the damage to Yamuna's floodplains and ecology due to an AoL event is "unscientific and biased".

"This report is completely flawed, unscientific and biased," the spiritual group headed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said in a statement.

"We have placed significant material on record before the NGT (National Green Tribunal) which clearly shows the committee is biased. Our application in this regard has not yet been heard," he said.

It said the "inconsistencies" in the committee's findings have "exposed its lies".

"From randomly pronouncing damages for Rs 120 crore, they have come down to Rs 13 crore; from permanent damage, they are now saying 10 years. From damage to wetlands, they are now saying damage to floodplains. Their inconsistencies expose their lies," it said.

The statement said the committee report was not signed by its Chairperson, Shashi Shekhar.

The seven-member expert committee headed by former Water Resources Ministry Secretary Shekhar told NGT that it would cost Rs 42 crore and a decade to set right the ecological damage done to the Yamuna floodplains from adverse damages caused by the AoL's World Culture Festival.

The event saw over three million attendees from 155 countries over three days from March 11 last year.

"The proposed budget covers all the activities to be carried out under biological rehabilitation. The budget required for this is about Rs 1,329 lakh over a period of 10 years," says the report.

The report further states: "The physical and biological components of ecological rehabilitation of the site would cost about Rs 4,202 lakh, plus expenditure on the monitoring by a team of experts for 10 years plus cost of transportation of material outside the floodplain."

The experts have estimated that some 300 acres of floodplains west (right bank) of the river Yamuna and about 120 acres of the eastern side of the river had been "adversely impacted" ecologically.

"These 170 hectares do not include parking lots," says the report.

The restoration costs include the amount of dumped material to be removed, the depth to which the dumped material to be excavated and identification of location where the excavated material can be transported and disposed off.

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