AoL extravaganza begins amid heavy showers
GN Bureau | March 11, 2016
Activists, courts, and finally even the rain could not stop Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s World Culture Festival. Prime minister Narendra Modi too ignored alerts about its rickety dais and attended the inauguration of the three-day event in the Yamuna flood plains.
In a symbolic development open to interpretation, an unseasonal drizzle started in the afternoon, developing into heavy showers just when the show was scheduled for the start at 5 pm Friday afternoon, but the organisers bravely went on, participating artists covered themselves with polythene sheets, and the dignitaries on the dais – including justice RC Lahoti who delivered the welcome – too were given protection against weather.
Rains and thunderstorms unsettled quite a few people at the venue. The Indian meteorological department (IMD) had predicted heavy rain and thunderstorm for this weekend. A brief spell of shower failed to dampen the spirit of the participants who ran looking for shade. Heavy gusts of winds also blew away some plastic furniture.
Meanwhile, protests continue over the venue chosen for hosting the festival. The national green tribunal (NGT) had fined Rs AoL 5 crore for not adhering to guidelines issued by Delhi development authority (DDA). It had asked AoL to deposit the fine by Friday 4 pm. But it relaxed its rules and has allowed them to deposit Rs 25 lakh by Friday. The remaining amount can be deposit within the next four weeks.
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