- Delhi govt tells court: Civic body unsure about stability of 7-acre stage
- CPWD reportedly asked for a separate stage to be made to seat the PM
- Earlier, PM's security team assessed the venue as 'not so safe' for him
The CPWD, asked for an assessment by the Delhi Police, has suggested constructing a separate stage to seat Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the festival, the Delhi government's lawyer told the National Green Tribunal or NGT, which cleared the festival but with a Rs 5 crore fine and conditions.
PM Modi was due to attend the festival's opening on Friday, but it is not clear whether he will do so after the event has sparked much controversy and criticism. The PM's security team has reported the venue as unsafe for him.
At the NGT hearing, sources said, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living or AOL was unable to provide a satisfactory answer on whether a structural engineer has certified the stage as safe.
Organisers said that they have used experts who have built stages for other large concerts and the government's Make In India summits, which bring together large audiences of potential investors.
More than 35,000 musicians and dancers are scheduled to perform on the massive stage at the "World Culture Festival," which will be spread across 1,000 acres on the river banks. "This here will have a symphony of 8,500, and these 20,000 performers on stage at any one time," said Prasana Prabhu, a trustee of Ravi Shankar's foundation.
Green groups accuse organisers of ripping up vegetation and ruining the river's fragile ecosystem by damaging its bed and disrupting water flows. They wanted authorities to cancel the event before more harm is done.
Experts who assessed the venue on behalf of the green court recommended the Art of Living Foundation be fined 100 crores to restore the land.
After Opposition leaders in Parliament have joined a chorus of criticism against the festival, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar tweeted:
I appeal to all parties to not politicize the #WCF2016. It is to unite all cultures, nations, religions & ideologies. Let's come together!- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (@SriSri) March 9, 2016
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