AoL event brings Delhi to a grinding halt
With the skies opening up hours before the event began in the Yamuna flood plains, long traffic jams were witnessed on arterial Ring Road and National Highway 24, which led to the venue of the cultural jamboree.
Earlier in the day, the National Green Tribunal took strong objection to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s remark on refusal to pay Rs 5 crore fine in connection with the three-day cultural extravanganza on Yamuna flood plains but allowed more time to his organisation to pay up.
“When a person of that stature makes such statements, it hits the rule of law. If anybody hurts the image of the tribunal, he will be taken to rule of law,” the green court said. It also clarified that the amount of Rs 5 crore be treated as environmental compensation and not as penalty.
The NGT also considered the plea of AOL Foundation that it was a charitable organisation and it was difficult for it to generate the huge amount of Rs. 5 crore in such a short period and asked it to pay Rs 25 lakh immediately failing which the grant of Rs 2.5 crore sanctioned to it by Centre will be attached. The next date of hearing has been fixed for April 4.
Meanwhile, the rain on Friday turned the dry Yamuna bed slushy making it difficult for those at the site to even walk. Many vehicles were also stuck in the slush leading to jams. Policemen and volunteers tried to rein in the crowd, but could not control the chaos.
Traffic snarls also spelt misery for those who had to catch the train from Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station, which is not very far from the event venue adjoining the busy Delhi-Noida flyway.
Many train travellers had to walk more than three kilometre carrying luggage on their shoulders. Key roads between Delhi and Noida too were clogged with the traffic police repeatedly tweeting, ‘Kindly avoid the stretch.’
The spillover of the jam was felt till late in the evening as office goers returning home in trans-Yamuna areas moved at a snail’s pace. Even VIP cavalcades were caught in the jams, blowing their hooters proved futile for once.
Traffic officials said that since rain is expected on both Saturday and Sunday and given the turnout of people at the site of extravaganza, it was advisable for people to avoid this stretch.