The controversy surrounding the Art of Living’s World Culture Festival, seems to be growing with environmentalists saying the event has yet again violated the National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders.
They say the organisers of the festival dumped construction material on the floodplains.
The AOL Fest is being held on Delhi’s Yamuna floodplains. Consistent rains have reduced the venue to a muddy field with slushy wet carpets and planks of wood.
To make the matters worse, many visitors to the festival had slipped in the mud.
To help the visitors and alleviate the problem, the organisers on March 12 brought coarse sand to put on top of the wet mud and even ploughed the area before adding fresh sand.
Though the steps were taken to improve access to the venue, environmentalist said this violated the NGT’s order, as construction on these floodplains is not allowed.
According to Manoj Misra, who is an environmentalist, this was “in gross violation of the NGT’s order that imposes a Rs 50,000 fine on dumping of construction material on the floodplains.”
Misra in the past had also moved the NGT, to get the venue of the festival shifted but was unsuccessful in his attempt.
Environmentalist Manoj Misra
The Art of Living Foundation already owes the tribunal Rs 5 crore in fines area for disturbing the floodplain area.
They need to pay these Rs 5 crore in the coming weeks and at present have only paid Rs 25 lakh.
There is also a strong possibility that in the coming days more fines can be issued as issues of waste disposal and ambient air quality still remains to be addressed, and there are also dozens of large diesel-based generators that are being used at the site.