A cultural event organized by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has destroyed the Yamuna floodplains, the rehabilitation of which will cost Rs 13.29 crore and will take nearly 10 years, an expert panel has told the National Green Tribunal.
The green panel was informed that the Yamuna floodplains need major restoration work for rectifying the damage caused to it, as per an India Today report.
"It has been estimated that approximately 120 hectares (about 300 acres) of floodplains of west (right bank) of the river Yamuna and about 50 hectares (120 acres) floodplains of the eastern side (left bank) of the river have been adversely impacted ecologically at different magnitudes," it said.
Last year, the NGT had allowed the Art of Living to hold a three-day ‘World Culture Event’ on the Yamuna floodplains but had also imposed a penalty of Rs 5 crore on the foundation for environmental damages.
A four-member committee had initially asked AOL Foundation to pay Rs 100-120 crore as cost of restoration for ‘extensive damage’ to the floodplains.
Later, another committee told NGT that the cultural extravaganza had ‘completely destroyed’ the riverbed.
The entire floodplain area used for the main event between DND flyover and the Barapulla drain (on the right bank of river Yamuna) was completely destroyed and not just damaged, the committee had observed.
The ground is now totally leveled, compacted and totally devoid of water bodies and almost completely devoid of any vegetation, the committee had said.
In its extensive 47-page report, the committee noted that following the cultural event, the floodplain had lost almost all its natural vegetation like trees, shrubs and tall grasses. Also, aquatic vegetation including water hyacinth, which provides habitat to several insects and animals, was severely impacted.