Findings of damages caused to Yamuna flood plains due to Art Of Living event will shock you

Approximately 120 hectares (about 300 acres) of floodplains of west (right bank) of the river Yamuna and about 50 hectares (120 acres) floodplains of the eastern side (left bank) of the river have been adversely impacted ecologically.

A day after the expert committee came hard on the Art of Living Foundation for 'destroying' the Yamuna flood plains, India Today carried out a reality check and the findings will shock you.

The NGT panel report on Wednesday stated, "It has been estimated that approximately 120 hectares (about 300 acres) of floodplains of west (right bank) of the river Yamuna and about 50 hectares (120 acres) floodplains of the eastern side (left bank) of the river have been adversely impacted ecologically at different magnitudes".

HERE IS WHAT WE FOUND

  • The flood plains were flattened. We tried to insert an iron key and it couldn't enter even one cm. Ideally, a river bed should be fragile, one that can't take much weight and goes in with the slightest application of pressure.
  • Most of the water bodies have gone missing. Most of these were allegedly dumped and flattened. Most of these were home to various species of birds and worked as an ecology-friendly base.
  • Ever since 420 acres of lands have been flattened, the fertility is gone. It supported various kinds of vegetation.
  • Plastic glasses, old packet of chips can still be found scattered across the plain.
  • The expert committee, headed by Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources Shashi Shekhar, has informed the green panel that major restoration work has to be carried out to compensate for the damage to the Yamuna flood plains.
  • The flood plains were flattened. We tried to insert an iron key and it couldn't enter even one cm. Ideally, a river bed should be fragile, one that can't take much weight and goes in with the slightest application of pressure.
  • Most of the water bodies have gone missing. Most of these were allegedly dumped and flattened. Most of these were home to various species of birds and worked as an ecology-friendly base.
  • Ever since 420 acres of lands have been flattened, the fertility is gone. It supported various kinds of vegetation.
  • Plastic glasses, old packet of chips can still be found scattered across the plain.The expert committee, headed by Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources Shashi Shekhar, has informed the green panel that major restoration work has to be carried out to compensate for the damage to the Yamuna flood plains.

Art of Living, on its part, has defended itself with its spokesperson Jaideep Nath saying, "We have been saying since the very beginning that the report is not scientific. The environmentalists do study much in detail. Our stand has never been heard. We request that our stand be heard first."

But even as we are dealing with an environmental disaster of this magnitude, a full-fledged political blame game has already begun. Delhi Minister Kapil Mishra asked the DDA to pay up for the damages. But for now, the Yamuna riverbed has become the bed of controversies.

Also read | Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living destroyed Yamuna floodplains: NGT panel

Also read | Art of Living denies it was fined for damaging Yamuna floodplains

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