New Delhi: Before leaving for Bengaluru, Art of Living (AOL) founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Wednesday visited the Yamuna floodplains where the three-day World Culture Festival was held amid controversy that it caused ecological damage.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar inspected the ongoing cleanliness drive at the venue, where hundreds of his disciples have volunteered to clean up.
AOL, in a statement, said a Delhi-based recycling startup named POM POM has joined as their recycling partner. 
“Team Pom Pom was responsible for collecting the recyclables from the venue to ensure that it gets recycled and does not end up in landfill,” it said.
“Pom Pom has already collected 22 truckloads of recyclables and a lot more is anticipated to be collected. The collected recyclables will be forwarded to factories which uses these as raw material.” 
However, contrary to AOL’s claims, the left bank of the Yamuna — including most of the areas of Chilla Khadar village near Hanuman temple — remained widely untouched. The three-day World Culture Festival was organised on Yamuna river’s right bank.
An AoL spokesperson said the cleanliness drive will be carried out for a month.
“Sri Sri reached the Yamuna banks and inspected the ongoing cleaning operations at the venue. He also instructed the teams on further course of action for the next one month. Sri Sri appreciated the public for not littering the place.” 
Currently, carpets are being rolled and chairs stacked at the venue, the statement added.
Meanwhile, the farmers across the Yamuna floodplains, through whose fields temporary tracks and roads were created for the festival, complained of garbage being removed only from specific places against the claims of AoL.
“There is garbage everywhere, it’s in the fields and at the roadside they temporarily paved by acquiring the agricultural land,” said Dayaram, a farmer at the village at Yamuna floodplains. 
“Sometimes, people from the Municipal Corporation come and collect a pile of garbage. But nothing of that sort has happened compared to the filth spread around,” he said.
According to the AoL, five agencies were assigned the task of housekeeping and cleaning, garbage collection and removal, dustbin dissemination, mobile toilets and mosquito fumigation.

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