Mar 19, 2016: Garbage piles up at the site of the Art of Living’s World Culture Festival on the Yamuna riverbed in Delhi.
The controversial three-day festival ended on Sunday. Green groups accused the festival’s organisers of ripping up vegetation and ruining the river’s fragile ecosystem by damaging its bed and disrupting water flows.
The National Green Tribunal allowed the event but fined spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation Rs 5 crore.
An estimated 3.5 million people were said to have visited the festival, prompting green groups to claim the event will damage the Yamuna’s fragile ecosystem.
Farmers who plough the banks of Yamuna also accused organisers of forcing them off the land
The Delhi high court called the World Cultural Festival an “ecological disaster” but did not ban it.
The festival reportedly had the world’s biggest ever performing stage. It was supposed to accommodate a symphony orchestra of 8,500 and 20,000 performers.
Art of Living leader Ravi Shankar, who enjoys a cult following in India and abroad, has rejected criticism, saying the event will actually help Yamuna.
Garbage piles up at the site of the Art of Living’s World Culture Festival on Monday after the three-day festival came to an end.
Shankar said the Art of Living should be “lauded and rewarded” and not criticised for choosing Yamuna riverbank as the venue for the festival.
Vegetable crops appear damaged at the Art of Living’s World Culture Festival.
A farmer removes garbage after the World Culture Festival ended on Sunday.