Published On: Tue, Mar 8th, 2016

World Cultural Festival: NGT questions Centre over clearances

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

“You (MoEF) file an affidavit by tomorrow and tell us why no environmental clearance is needed for raising temporary structures in flood plains,” 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 river 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.

While DDA said it was only required to give no objection certificate for the bridge, Delhi government submitted that its role for the pontoon bridge comes only at the time of flood and MoEF passed the buck on Ministry of Water Resources.

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.

“The area is meant for recreational activity. The area is with DDA and it is the competent authority. Permission was granted after taking proper legal opinion which was conditional that no permanent structure will be constructed and also that it will be subject to permissions from other concerned authorities,” he said.

Art of Living (AOL) 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 tomorrow.

The NGT is hearing pleas seeking stoppage of ongoing construction on the flood plains for the Cultural festival.

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