Art of Living event: CPWD raises concern over PM’s safety

The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that the 7-acre stage being constructed for the Art of Living’s ‘World Culture Festival’ is unstable, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is expected to inaugurate the event, should have another stage.

The mega festival, to be held from Friday to Sunday, has come under fire for its venue — the floodplains of the Yamuna. The NGT is hearing a petition filed by Manoj Misra, the convenor of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, seeking the shifting of the venue.

President Pranab Mukherjee was supposed to attend the valedictory session but, earlier this week, the Rashtrapati Bhawan said that he would not be attending the event.

Cops warn of stampede

“On March 1, a police team had inspected the venue of the event and found certain shortcomings, especially with regard to the stage where the Prime Minister and other VVIPs are to be seated,” said a police source.

The stage for VVIPs also did not have the mandatory structural certificate, following which the police communicated the matter to the Ministry of Urban Development.

In the Delhi Police letter to the Urban Development Ministry, it was mentioned that the police perceived a “pandemonium” which is bound to result in utter chaos leading to total law and order breakdown, the source said.

Opposition slams Govt.

A united opposition in the Rajya Sabha slammed the Government for allowing the Indian Army to be used for the Art of Living foundation, saying the event was an environmental disaster.

The Government sprung to the defence of the ‘Art of Living’ guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, saying his intentions cannot be doubted as he was committed to the protecting environment. The event is being organised with all permissions, it claimed adding that the issue cannot be raised in the House as it was being heard by the NGT.

Latest Updates:

* NGT pulls up the Ministry of Environment & Forests for not filing affidavit as asked by it regarding environment clearances.

* The NGT also asked Delhi Pollution Control Committee if it can allow putting enzymes in river Yamuna without examination.

* The NGT asked Centre, Delhi govt and DDA if any environment impact assessment was carried out regarding preparation & consequential effects of AOL event.

* Delhi govt informed NGT that CPWD has asked AOL to build a separate stage for PM due to issues over structural safety.

* NGT asked AOL to submit details of expenses on construction of stage, levelling of flood plains, removal of debris and pontoon bridge.

* Delhi govt informed NGT that cops, after inspection, have asked AOL to show structural safety clearance of pontoon bridge & vehicle parking clearance.