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New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday pulled up the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) over the World Culture Festival being organised here by the Art of Living (AOL) Foundation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.Resuming its hearing on the matter, the NGT asked the ministry why permission was not sought from it for such a huge event being organised on the banks of river Yamuna.Will such huge activity not require your permission, the NGT asked MoEF.The tribunal further asked the ministry why it had failed to submit an affidavit as asked by it regarding environment clearances.The NGT also posed a question before the ministry asking why did it think the massive stage being built for the event is temporary in nature.Who will ensure the structure is removed after the March 11-13 festival gets over, asked the NGT, while stating its patience should not be tested.The tribunal further directed the ministry to file an affidavit on the matter.Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, however, said they have given the affidavit NGT asked for.“Matter is with NGT, I will not speak,” Javadekar told reporters.Meanwhile, the Water Resources Ministry today informed the NGT that it had not given any permission for the mega event.The NGT today also asked the Centre, the Delhi government and the Delhi Development Authority whether any environment impact assessment was carried out regarding preparation and consequential effects of event.The NGT further asked the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) if it can allow putting enzymes in river Yamuna without examination.The AOL has said that it will put enzymes into river Yamuna near the event venue to clean it.Also today, the Delhi government informed the NGT that the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has asked AOL to build a separate stage for the PM due to issues over structural safety of the main stage.The Art of Living’s counsel, meanwhile, stated during the hearing that there will be no activity which will violate the NGT order. The counsel assured that they will maintain sufficient distance from river while carrying out activities.Ahead of the NGT hearing, the Delhi Police in a letter to the Ministry of Urban Development red flagged the event saying the festival, expected to be attended by nearly 35 lakh people, may witness “stampede”, “pandemonium” and “utter chaos”.The police further noted that the stage for the event – being billed as the world’s largest temporary stage – lacks structural stability certificate.It may be noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will inaugurate the event, and other VVIPs will be seated on the stage.
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