Skip to main content

Fate of Yamuna floodplain still hangs in "balance" despite National Green Tribunal rap on Sri Sri event

By Ashok Shrimali*
While the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday reportedly pulled up the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for granting permission to hold spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's World Culture Festival on the banks of Yamuna, the chief petitioners against the high-profile event Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan has declared, the “fate of the floodplain still hangs in balance.”
Next date of hearing for the high-profile event, which is to see the participation of the Prime Minister and the President, is either Monday (March 7) or Tuesday (March 8) in the event Monday is declared a holiday.
While the DDA told the NGT that it had reason to “stop” the function now, Abhiyan convener Manoj Misra said in a statement that “It was the DDA got totally expose itself on its science and ‘art’ of decision making with regard to the Yamuna flood plains.
“The DDA advocate was hard put to defend its approval dated December 15, 2015 given to Sri Sri’s Art of Living (AOL) event”, it said, adding, “The DDA admitted it had “withdrawn in mid-2015 an ‘approval’ to AOL which, it had earlier claimed had never been given.”
The second time it withdrew its permission was on November 30, 2015 in order to quickly provide a fresh and final permission on December 15, 2015”, Abhiyan said, adding”, DDA counsel had no convincing answer to the bench's query that what had changed from the earlier reasons of rejection.”
“While initially the DDA counsel stated that the DDA had no details of the planned event and the fact that it was going to be so huge in extent. Later it emerged during cross questioning by the bench that AOL had indeed given some area details which included 20 ha of sitting space, 1.5 ha of platform and 2.4 ha of parking space” the Abhiyan said.
“DDA counsel also could not explain as to why in its approval letter it talks only of maintaining a safe distance from the river edge without specifying what that safe distance would mean. Interestingly the same counsel went on to admit that the construction was happening right next to the river and even within the river”, Abhiyan said,
“While admitting that the AOL had exceeded the permission given to it and at one point the DDA stand seemed like the AOL and DDA were opposite parties in the case, soon it became clear that the DDA was only trying to save its own skin in the matter”, Abhiayan said, adding, “The million dollar question remains that since DDA admits that AOL has violated / exceeded its permission then what prevents it from withdrawing the approval under para 6 of its approval letter.”
“Following this, Abhiyan said, there is a question mark on DDA as competent and reliable agency to look after the river flood plain in the city”, Abhiyan said, wondering, “Why should not all such correspondences and the decision making processes always be made public soonest these are taken.”
“How can a private organisation come to gain such a clout that it can bend any agency and any law / rules to meet its ends?”, asks Abhiyan, wondering, “While DDA was at pains to try and defend its approval as not being in the teeth of the NGT orders, the fact remains that it very much is and we in our reply are going to clearly establish how DDA approval is illegal and ab initio void.”
---
*Senior activist based in Ahmedabad, secretary-general, mines, minerals and People (mm&P)

Comments

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Hyderabad-based Urdu university "bars" entry of its new chancellor, who had "initiated" reforms in institute

Counterview Desk
In an unusual controversy, Aslam Parvaiz, vice-chancellor of of the Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) has restricted the entry of its newly appointed Chancellor, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, allegedly because he was trying to initiate reforms, including setting up of a Maulana Azad Center for Composite Culture and Progressive Studies, Model Madrasa, Center for Empowerment of Muslim Women, Course for the Development of Legal Vocabulary and Legal Consciousness in Urdu, and so on.

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s highest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”