“Delhi’s river, that mangy, smelly, desperate thing…”

Mitali Saran in acerbic voice on Art of Living’s birthday bash:

Delhi’s river — that mangy, smelly, desperate thing — has once more been thrown under the bus by a happy godman backed by a godman-happy government.

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Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed…

Just the other day, FirstPost carried an extended piece on the World Culture Festival being organised by the Art of Living folks, and the consequent risks to the Yamuna’s fragile ecosystem, and the possibile impact on Delhi.

Now, this — despite internal reservations, the army has apparently been ordered to build bridges across the Yamuna for the project.

So much for the politicians pontificating about “our brave jawans fighting on the borders” — when we treat the army like domestic staff and order them to do chores for assorted “godmen”, we demean them, we denigrate who they are and what they stand for.

The art of causing floods

A timely — or maybe not timely, since the ship seems to have upped anchor — warning for Delhi:

An NGT-appointed panel in its report has mentioned, “The entire area of the floodplain between River Yamuna and DND Flyover has been levelled flat and on the western side of the river — 50 to 60 hectares of floodplain have been completely destroyed. Natural vegetation comprising reeds, shrubs, trees etc has been completely removed. A large number of birds and other natural life on the floodplain have vanished.”

Manoj Misra, convener, Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, an NGO working for the restoration of the River Yamuna, said: “Vegetation on the soil is extremely important, especially on floodplains. The ground vegetation is the lifeline of floodplains. Absence of it will certainly cause floods. One won’t be surprised if the low-lying areas of east Delhi get flooded or even a larger area.”

How flood will be caused?

– The levelling and compacting of the floodplain would reduce its water absorbing capacity by 35 to 40 percent. As a result, the rest 60 percent of water will run off to adjoining low areas causing flood.
– The bush, reeds, shrubs, marsh etc helps in water-absorption due to the roots. As this vegetation has its own absorptive capacity, the flood situation will aggravate.
– Groundwater recharging capacity will drastically decrease.
– If heavy rain takes place, the extra water will flow into the residential areas.

From a FirstPost piece on Art of Living’s upcoming World Culture Festival.