Please bear and read through this Maxi post (it has a lot of links for supplementary reading)
Each time I resolve not to react to anything that appears against the Art of Living hosted, now well known, World Culture Festival held on the banks of River Yamuna (or whatever was left of it), a motley bunch who called themselves “Committee of Experts” (click on the link to read about the so called experts) don’t let me do it at all.
The committee chaired by Water Resources Secretary Shashi Shekhar & assisted by Prof AK Gosain of IIT-Delhi, Prof CR Babu and Prof Brij Gopal, in its report submitted to the green panel on 21 February 2016, had stated (Quoting relevant part from the report)
The area has been cleared of all natural vegetation and the event would leave a “permanent footprint” on the floodplains of the Yamuna.
The site has been cleared of all natural vegetation and consolidated with machinery. It appears that the site has been raised with the help of JCBs (mechanical excavators). A gigantic stage made of steel rods is under preparation. A huge amount of debris and construction waste has been dumped into the Yamuna main channel.
It would require at least Rs 120 crore for restoration of the Yamuna flood plains and there is a irreversible damage, leaving a “permanent footprint” on the floodplains of the Yamuna. It’s destruction and not damage of the floodplains, because there’s nothing left on the floodplains to revive. The wetland has been compacted that has killed organisms, vegetation, biodiversity and the ecological system. It takes hundreds of years and even more for a biodiversity to develop, and one can’t revive in a few years period. So, it’s total destruction
(Mark those important phrases in red – that formed part of their report on which basis the entire case is premised – I will revisit this later in this piece)
And backed by the every obliging Foreign controlled Paid Media and Liberals (PALs) – you can find some information on my two part pieces here (Part 1 and Part 2). This gives you the reason why PALs, as I refer to them in the pieces, launched an incessant attack on the founder of Art of Living, Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji and Art of Living – whether they perform their morning ablutions or not, multiple attacks a day on this world recognized event was their prescription.
And Lo!!! Something suddenly erupts to disturb the cosy comfort activists were reposing in. An usually wary and not so outspoken Water Resource Secretary and Chairman of the Expert Committee Mr Shashi Shekar blurted in an unguarded moment that Rs 120 crore fine was not based on any scientific assessment. In his letter to NGT, he said (quoting from it),
The estimate that Rs 120 crore would be needed to repair the likely damage as “tentative” and a “spontaneous suggestion”, which got elevated as a “recommendation” because of an “inadvertent mistake. This inadvertent mistake was largely due to the fact that I was running high fever and could not see the entire report prepared by the experts,”
Oh yes! Mr Shashi Shekhar wrote this letter to the NGT on March 3, eight days before the AOL event got under way. But even during the hearings on the even and the day preceding it, the Tribunal and the activists who had made it their mission to sabotage this Event never refered to this letter from no less than Chairman of the Expert Committee (Manoj Misra, Vimlendu et al cannot claim they did not know about it – but they did throw a gauntlet at me at the gates of NGT office – Swechha guy’s words “You can defeat us in court but not the fury of the nature” bandying the weather forecast. It is a different matter that he had a carton of Gelusil when nature held back just for the event to get to a magnificent start and also witness to the now famous WCF Rainbow – click this link to see WCF Rainbow & a Post Event report). Coming back to the point, a totally unscientific, tentative spontaneous suggestion got elevated as a recommendation (yes it is the language of the Expert supposedly handling some legally critical issue)
I even presented, with my friend Rajaque Rehman a far more Scientific, evidence based report “Pictures & Facts Don’t Lie – #WCF2016” which had As-is pictures, photographs of spectral records, Pre and post Event Pictures, Temporal Satellite imageries. But then we were just factual not “experts”
Partial list of work done by Art of Living for Environment protection is chronicled in this Two part article Part 1 that includes work done for Yamuna, yes yes you heard it right – Yamuna maayi was also taken care by AOL much before the event in 2010. And then Part 2 where I chronicle various river rejuvenation and enviroment related work that Art of Living has done. As clear these form far more than whatever these activists, experts and NGT put together has done for the environment and rivers. By the way! I have just listed very few of them and those done in India alone.
Now that the premise is set, let us come back to the present. A so called Expert and so called report from them was leaked to the public (press – obviously first broken on pliable Hindustan Times – known hitjob contractor against AOL and Sri Sri). Read this part of the report
The seven-member committee, headed by the water resources ministry secretary Mr Shashi Shekhar, said in the report released on Wednesday that the ecological rehabilitation of the Yamuna’s floodplains will cost Rs.13.29 crore and take almost 10 years.
Compare the Red colored block words of what NGT experts had asked for. Permanent Damage & Total destruction now becomes ecological rehabilitation would take almost 10 years and Rs 120 Crores becomes Rs 13.29 Crores. Coming from such a learned bunch of experts 😛 a poor stupid me is left wondering why we Tax Payers even have these kind of rehabilitation forum, for retired Judges and Professors and Good Boys of the establishment, called NGT and Expert committee. The report is a litany of comical errors. Chairman and another Expert doesn’t sign the report!!!
A few questions
- Why this selective leak of Expert Report?
- What were the Compulsions: Desire for Media Glare (unlikely) or Pressure from a Particular Foreign funded NGO to fix AOL?
- Why did Chairman of the Committee and another Expert not sign the document?
- How did the Rs 120 Crore suddenly drop to Rs 13.29 Crores + recurring cost for 10 years)
- How did Permanent damage, recoup itself to getting rehabiliated within 10 years?
Here is the Press Release from the Art of Living:
Even more caustic and harsh was Water Minister, Government of Delhi Mr Kapil Mishra’s reaction to the Expert committee report. He went to the extent of mocking them saying Dolphins were swimming in Yamuna before WCF and also sought Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to repeat this festival again and again.
Here is the DNA report shared in the tweet from Art of Living which has English version of this reaction. That was a slap bit too hard. Salutes Sir. I have ideological differences with you, but tipping my hat for being on the side of Truth.
Does whatever happened remind you of the scene from a 2010 movie “Phas Gaye re Obama” Rings a Bell? NGT bargaining is something like this. I sincerely hope and pray that Art of Living stands up to this Obstructionist bully called National Green Tribunal, not surprisingly a creation of the Indian National Congres & machiavellian designs
|Jai Yamuna Mayi|
Satyameva Jayate (TruthWillTriumph)