Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra on Thursday mocked the findings of an expert panel that the world culture festival ravaged the Yamuna floodplains, asserting that the event should be held again and ‘only on its banks’.
He invited Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who had organised the cultural extravaganza last year, for holding the event again.
Unfazed by the alarming contents of the report, including that the restoration of the floodplains may take up to 10 years, Mishra said the festival should be organised on the banks of the Yamuna ‘again and again’.
‘It is almost as if Dolphins used to swim in the Yamuna before the world culture festival. Tourists from all over the world used to come marvel at it. At that point Sri Sri came and poured gutters into the pristine river. He damaged it so much that it will take 10 years to restore it (sic),’ Mishra wrote.
Yamuna’s dissolved oxygen level, that supports aquatic life, has plummeted to zero at different points in the river’s journey through the national capital, a Delhi Pollution Control Committee study found last year.
Based on his ‘12 years of Yamuna activism’, he hit out at people ‘who believe’ that the river can be revived by ‘keeping it untouchable’.
‘History says whenever people and societies are linked to rivers, festivals are organised, rivers remain clean and pristine.
‘My take is that world culture festival should be held only the banks of the Yamuna. Again and again. I reinvite Shri Shri for holding the event again (sic),’ he said.
A whopping Rs 42.02 crore would be required to restore Yamuna floodplains which were ravaged due to the festival, an expert committee has told the National Green Tribunal.
The expert panel has suggested that there would be two components of rehabilitation plan -- physical and biological, and they would cost Rs 28.73 crore and Rs l3.29 crore respectively, besides additional ancillary expenses.