President Pranab Mukherjee will not attend a festival being organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ‘s World Culture Festival organised by Art of Living on the banks of Yamuna river in Delhi. It is said that President has pulled of his name from the event as it violate the environment laws.

An official of Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday said:

“The President cannot attend the function due to unavoidable circumstances”

 

While the organizers expect lakhs of people to attend the function, which begins on Friday, concerns have been raised by experts about the likely damage to the environment caused by holding it on the flood plains of the already polluted river in east Delhi.

Over 3.5 million people are expected to attend the event.

The three-day event starting March 11 will be organised near Mayur Vihar. A grand inauguration ceremony, which will be attended by 35,973 performers, has been planned.

Following the controversy, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) disowned the permission it gave to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s organisation for holding the event. It has told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that it wasn’t fully aware of the “scale” on which the World Culture Festival is being held.

 

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

 

Meanwhile, a petition against the AOL event, on change.org, has gathered over 2,800 signatures. The petition, launched by Vimlendu Jha of NGO, Swechha India, asks for immediately “shifting out of the event from the ecologically-sensitive area“. It also asks for “strict action against the damage caused”.

The petition will be submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, National Green Tribunal (NGT) chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Art of Living Founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.