Daily Archive: April 13, 2017

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar hits out at National Green Tribunal

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar hits out at National Green Tribunal, says no proof of Yamuna floodplain damage

New Delhi, April 13: Sri Sri Ravi Sharkar hit out at National Green Tribunal (NGT) saying that there are no proofs of Yamuna floodplain damage and they will decide on the next course of action. The spiritual guru’s response came a day after a National Green Tribunal (NGT) committee accused Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living for damaging Yamuna floodplain area which was used for World Cultural Festival in March 2016. The AOL also cried foul and maintained that the report has deliberately been leaked to the media.

The statement by Art of Living read: “This was expected of them as their mala fide intentions to malign us has been evident since the beginning. The Expert Committee of the NGT who were supposed to be non-interested parties to the case and were to act as the eyes and ears of judges have given biased interviews in public while the case is sub-judice.”

On Wednesday, the NGT expert panel, which was constituted to access the damage after the AOL’s ‘World Culture Festival’, told NGT that the rehabilitation of Yamuna floodplains destroyed by AOL’s ‘World Culture Festival’ will cost Rs 13.29 crore. The NGT also said that heavy restoration work will be done to repair the damage done to the Yamuna floodplain.

The NGT panel, headed by Shashi Shekhar, submitted a 47-page report on the event held by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living and it read that the organisation is responsible for causing extensive damage during their cultural extravaganza held between March 11 to March 13, 2016 at Yamuna banks.

Huge win for BJP in Delhi’s Rajouri Garden bypoll, AAP candidate loses deposit

The BJP scored a massive win in Rajouri bypoll in west Delhi on Thursday defeating its nearest rival Congress by over 14,000 votes.

The bypoll, which is being seen as a precursor to the MCD polls scheduled for April 23, came as a blow for AAP which could only get 10,000 votes securing a distant third position. The AAP candidate secured only 14% the votes polled and lost deposit.

BJP’s winning candidate Majinder Singh Sirsa said the results showed that people had rejected AAP. “This is the end of AAP-led government in Delhi,” Sirsa said.

Delhi bye-election result 2017: BJP wins Rajouri Garden seat, Congress second, AAP a dismal third

New Delhi, April 13: The Bharatiya Janata Party registered a victory in the Rajouri Garden bye-election in Delhi as counting of votes ended on Thursday. BJP candidate Manjinder Singh Sirsa won the Rajouri Garden bypoll by 14652 votes, defeating Congress candidate Meenakshi Chandela. The Aam Aadmi Party, who was the winner at this seat in 2015, was a dismal third today and even lost its deposit as party candidate Harjeet Singh could not get one-sixth of the total votes polled.

The Rajouri Garden seat was left vacant by AAP MLA Jarnail Singh who left the constituency to contest the Punjab Assembly Elections earlier this year. In 2015, Jarnail Singh had defeated Sirsa by over 10,000 votes. However, the tables turned on Thursday as Sirsa emerged victorious and the AAP was third. Soon after winning the election, Sirsa said, “This win will reflect in the MCD Elections too. It is clear that the people are now rejecting the AAP. We will win MCD.” Delhi BJP leader Manoj Tiwari also congratulated Sirsa and said that the BJP will win over 220 seats out of 272 in the MCD Polls.

EVM ’challenge’: Kejriwal asks if news is correct, Digvijaya calls EC ’naive’

The Election Commission might have reportedly thrown an “open challenge” to prove voting machines can’t be hacked into, but Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh don’t seem impressed.

Kejriwal wondered why the commission was not coming out with any official statement and pushing the news of the reported challenge through “sources” instead.

“Why are these stories ascribed to “sources”? How credible are they? Why hasn’t EC issued any formal statement? Or is it just a plant? Has anyone actually seen any official statement from CEC? Am trying to get it since evening. Is this news correct?” he said in a series of tweets on Thursday.

Official sources claimed a day ago that the commission will invite political parties, experts, scientists and technocrats in the first week of May to try and hack the electronic voting machines.

They said the challenge will be open for a week or 10 days and will have various levels.

The chorus against EVMs has gained momentum after the recently held assembly elections in five states, with Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party spearheading a campaign on the issue.

The Election Commission, however, has said the machines can’t be tampered with.

Recently, opposition parties, including the Congress and the Left, visited the commission, crying foul over the use of EVMs.

Kejriwal even pitched for the use of ballot papers, alleging that the faulty EVMs were helping the Centre’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

After the poll panel’s challenge, Congress’ Singh said: “Those who are hacking are doing roaring business why should they expose themselves?”

He called the EC “naive” and posted on Twitter: “BJP and Hackers are biggest beneficiaries why should they kill a Golden Goose.”

Art of Living event: Why it will take 10 years, Rs 42 crore to revive Yamuna floodplains

Scientists say they would need the help of aquatic plants and animals that once used to inhabit the Yamuna floodplains to fix the ecological damage caused by Art of Living’s three-day cultural festival in March year.

Aquatic plants, microbes and other small aquatic animals, including fish that once lived in the floodplains, would have to be introduced again to make the wetland functional just like before.

“As the flood plains were damaged by humans, we would just kick start the process of rehabilitation and then step aside and allow nature to take over. This process of healing would take around 10 years at least,” said A K Gosain one of the members of the National Green Tribunal-appointed panel.

It has been estimated that the ecology of more than 420 acres of floodplains on both banks of the Yamuna was adversely affected by the three-day event. The panel suggested that it would require more than Rs 42 crore to execute this plan.

The committee experts said at first they would have to ‘physically’ rehabilitate the network of wetlands and channels that were damaged and destroyed by the event. This would require huge desiltation and dredging.

The biological rehabilitation – the process to make the wetlands and channels ecologically functional once again – would have to be started simultaneously.

“For this purpose, we would need to introduce submerged and floating aquatic plants and the microbes and other small invertebrate communities that are associated with these ecosystems,” said another panel member.

Some of the microalgae, microbes and soil invertebrates have to be identified from surrounding areas. They would have to be cultured and multiplied and then introduced.

Once the aquatic vegetation is developed, aquatic animals, particularly fishes and other organisms, would have to be introduced. Once the plant animal communities are developed, the birds and other animal communities will follow as a part of the ecological succession.

“The physical and biological components of ecological rehabilitation of the site would cost around R 42 crore. In addition to this, there would be expenditure for the monitoring by a team of experts for 10 years and the cost of transportation of material outside the floodplain,” a panel expert told HT.