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According to media reports, over 1,000 acres on the banks of Yamuna river have been converted into a makeshift village for the three-day World Cultural Festival that will feature yoga and meditation sessions, peace prayers and cultural performances. A seven-acre stage has been set up for over 35,000 artistes and visitors from 150 countries. A photo-essay in the DailyO shows steel, cement, iron and other construction material being used for the event. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living is being accused of killing New Delhi’s river. To celebrate 35 years of his work, he is hosting a three-day event along the river that is expected to attract over 3.5 million visitors, and about 37,000 artists who will sing, dance, meditate and perform yoga. However, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar called the whole controversy the biggest joke. “Thanks to the efforts of over 100,000 Delhi households who for 3 months prepared enzymes to clean nallahs, methane emission has reduced.”

The new age guru said he has government permission for the event and that his foundation is using eco-friendly materials and erecting only temporary structures. He added that his volunteers are also pouring enzymes into the river to clean it.

“Some people just want to gain fame by making these allegations. In the heart of heart, everyone knows it is a dead river. It is so polluted, so toxic. There is nothing left to pollute,” said Shankar. “To say we are damaging the river is the biggest joke of the year.”

“No birds come to that area, no fish are in the water,” he says in this video statement.

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