NEW DELHI: Criticising the government for allowing the Army to be used for a private event organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation, a united Opposition said in the Rajya Sabha that the event to be held in the ecologically fragile floodplains was an environmental disaster.
The government sprang to the defence of the Art of Living founder saying that his intentions could not be doubted as he was committed to protecting environment. The event was being organised with all permissions, it said, adding that the issue couldn’t be raised in the House as it was being heard by the National Green Tribunal. But members were not satisfied and rushed into the Well shouting slogans and forcing a brief adjournment. Senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and Ghulam Nabi Azad from the Congress raised the issue by giving a notice under rule 267 seeking adjournment of proceedings to discuss the matter. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien allowed the issue to be raised during Zero Hour.
Terming the construction of a temporary structure on the floodplains as “destruction unseen in history”, Yadav claimed the NGT had earlier disallowed construction in the ecologically fragile zone and the DDA cancelled permission twice. He wanted to know under what pressure was the Army deployed to build a pontoon bridge for one person.
MoS Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Ravi Shankar was committed to environmental protection and the event was being conducted with permission and is not illegal.