Friday, March 11, 2016

Sri Sri Mega world event all set to begin tomorrow

With the National Green Tribunal (NGT) showing green flag, the World Culture Festival organised by the Art of Living (AOL) Foundation on the Yamuna flood plains is all set to commence from tomorrow, although controversies are still revolving around the three-day mega event. The magnitude of the event can be estimated by the size of its venue that will cover an area of 1000 acres and world's largest stage set-up, which spreads over an area of seven acres, as claimed by its organisers. Celebrating the 35 years of AOL, founded by Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, over 37,000 artists are likely to perform at the festival, which includes 8,000 musicians playing 40 instruments in a Musical Symphony and 650 drummers from South Africa. Several tribal artists from Indian states such as Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Sikkim and others will also add to the glitter of this event. The stage will also witness various folk dance performances such as Bhangra, Bharatnatyam, Kathak and tribal dances. Though the organisors earlier claimed that around 35 lakh people will be visiting the event, but after the NGT castigated them for allegedly disturbing the ecologically fragile Yamuna flood plains, they scaled down the figure to three lakh before the green court. More than 20,000 international guests are expected from across the globe. Sizable contingents from South America, Mongolia, Russia, US, Europe, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, Pakistan are expected to join the festival. Apart from dance and music performances, the AOL is also looking forward to hold the 'world's largest peace meditation event,' where millions (as claimed by the organisor) will meditate on all three days at one location. It will also be attended by senior leaders from various fora, including business, government, politics, science, NGOs, faith organisations, sports, academia and media, according to the AOL. Yesterday, the mega event got the Green Tribunal's nod, but was fined Rs five crore for disturbing the ecologically delicate river's flood plains. The Union Ministry of Environment and the Central government agencies were also rapped by the Green court for allowing the organisors to hold the event without making any assessment of its environmental impact.The green panel was holding the day-to-day hearing over the petition filed by Manoj Mishra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan and Anand Arya against the DDA and AOL, asking the court to put a stop to the festival.The petitioners had argued that there would be irreparable damage to the floodplains and ecosystem of the river due to the festival.However, the guru has vehemently denied allegations that they violated green norms in making arrangements for the festival. He claimed that not a single tree had been cut and all structures were made of mud and wood, which are eco-friendly.The construction of pontoon bridges by Army over Yamuna River for the event also stoked a major row after the Opposition severely criticised it, alleging that undue favours were doled out to appease the Guru. However, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar defended the decision to build floating bridges, saying the Army has always been participating in mass religious gatherings such as Kumbh and Ardh-Kumbh. Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee were invited to the event. While Rashtrapati Bhawan officials had said the President will not be attending the event, the Prime Minister is likely to attend the event.UNI RG RJ AE 1942

-- (UNI) -- C-1-1-DL0377-630845.Xml

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