Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living (AOL) organisation, which claims that it believes in the philosophy of a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, has actually destroyed the environment.
A report by a committee of experts which was directed by National Green Tribunal to assess the damage caused to the Yamuna floodplain in Delhi by the World Culture Festival organised by AOL earlier in March this year, has said that the ‘entire floodplain area used for the main event site’ has been ‘completely destroyed’ which has caused ‘invisible loss of biodiversity’.
The committee observes that the area between DND flyover and the Barapulla drain in Delhi has been completely destroyed, not simply damaged. The ground which was totally levelled compacted and hardened and is now totally devoid of water bodies or depressions and almost completely devoid of any vegetation.
The tribunal had directed the seven-member expert committee headed by Shashi Shekhar, Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, and senior scientists and experts from National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, IIT, Delhi and other agencies to inspect the site of the World Culture Festival.
The report says that most of the ecosystem functions of natural wetlands have been completely lost and far more significant changes are expected in the micro-organisms which are critical to the ecosystem functioning.
The floodplain has lost almost all of its natural vegetation – trees, shrubs, reeds, tall grasses, aquatic vegetation including water hyacinth. The vegetation also includes numerous microscopic forms of algae, mosses and some ferns which inhabit the soil and water bodies, mentioned the report.