Art of Living event: Delhi braces for mega Sri Sri Ravi Shankar programme, despite opposition
As can be seen from the Delhi Noida Direct Flyway, it’s like coming to the stage of construction. As well as a massive step closer stretched over seven acres welcomes you. On second thought, it looks like a gladiatorial arena is preparing for the historic battle with seating for more than 11 lakh people daily, and six towering floodlight towers, aimed down at the giant arena.
Ask the organizers of Art Living Foundation, and they are proud to say that this is the biggest stage in the world, covering 3,34,358 square feet, about 100 feet in height and width of 1,200 feet. They say they hope it can find its place in the Guinness Book of Records.
But the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which finally gave the green light on Wednesday, albeit with riders mega event would not have happened.
The scene is a three-day International Festival of Culture of March 11, Yamuna floodplain is considered an environmentally sensitive area.
By his own admission, according to the organizers, about 1,000 acres of land upstream from DND flyover on the right bank of the Yamuna river used for the festival.
They also claimed that about 35 lakh people are expected to attend the event. Earlier it was said that 97 acres will be used for the festival.
“Around 8,000 musicians and 10,000 dancers will perform on the stage at a time. Participants from 155 countries will participate. I tried to represent ‘Pancha Bhoota’ (five elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether) in this massive stage,” said Nitin C. Desai, stage designer, who claims to have designed sets for films like ‘Lagaan’, ‘Devdas’, ‘Jodha Akbar’, ‘Tamas’ and ‘1942 – A Love Story’.
“More than 600 people work every day to build a scene. It will be completed tomorrow,” he added.
In the festival area, witnessed the huge tracts of land were destroyed by bulldozers and cranes, turning the entire area into a huge dust bowl. A number of tents and platforms are created for different purposes.
The armed forces were seen busy working tirelessly on two pontoon bridges, built just for the festival. Hundreds of Central Reserve Police and Delhi Police Force personnel were also seen engaged in carrying out inspections.
“We have built two bridges and each of them has a capacity to carry 40 tons (40,000 kg),” said one of the officers of the army.
Several workers were seen as some time after a hard day. “About three Lakh meters of carpet will be used for the festival,” said one of them.
Art of Living is a volunteer-based, humanitarian and educational non-governmental organizations (NGO) founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in 1981.