New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee, who was scheduled to deliver the valedictory address at Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s World Culture Festival (WCF) commencing in Delhi from March 11, has decided to distance itself from the event.
The Art of Living Foundation, which is organising the event, has, however, refused receiving any intimation from the President.
“We have not received any intimation from the President cancelling his attendance,” said a spokesperson for the Art of Living Foundation.
An official of the Rashtrapati Bhavan had on Monday announced: "The President cannot attend the function due to unavoidable circumstances."
Notably, the President's decision came in the wake of a controversy over the three-day event on the flood plains of river Yamuna that has raised environmental concerns.
The event drew criticism after some activists petitioned the National Green Tribunal, a qusai judicial body on environmental issues, asking it to stop the event as it would have a deep impact on the Yamuna flood plains.
While the organisers expect 35 lakh people to attend the function, concerns have been raised by experts about the likely damage to the environment that may be caused by holding it on the flood plains of the already polluted river in east Delhi.
The AOL foundation, which is organising the function, will have yoga and meditation sessions, peace prayers by Sanskrit scholars and traditional cultural performances from around the world.
The three-day event will be held from March 11-13 on the west bank of Yamuna to celebrate 35 years of the foundation.
Earlier, the green panel had issued notices to the Delhi government, Delhi Development Authority and the foundation on another plea seeking stoppage of ongoing construction work on the flood plains.