NEW DELHI: Opposition in Rajya Sabha today expressed concern over Art of Living founder Ravishankar striking a defiant note after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) slapped a penalty of Rs five crore on his organisation for holding cultural extravaganza on the Yamuna floodplains.
As soon as the Zero Hour began, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav raised the issue saying the Ravishankar has challenged the NGT order and announced he would not pay the fine. "This is a serious matter. He should be sent to jail. They (NDA government) are with him," Yadav said.
Yadav said about 35 lakh people are expected to gather to attend the 3-day World Culture Festival and raised concerns over their safety. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, members from Congress, Left and SP also associated themselves with the issue raised by the senior JD(U) leader.
Former Environment Minister and Congress member Jairam Ramesh said the festival would lead to "complete ecological destruction" of the Yamuna flood plains as in case of the Akshardham temple and the Common Wealth Games (CWG).
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said: "This matter is under the consideration of the courts. What can I do? You haven't given any notice." Tarun Vijay (BJP) said that Congress protested against the construction of the Akshardham temple and now the cultural fest.
To this, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it is a cultural programme and the Prime Minister would be attending it. "I will also go. You should also go," he said, claiming that the spiritual leader was sensitive towards towards environment and urged the members not to give it political colour.