Indian green watchdog: Festival massively damaged river bank

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An expert panel appointed by India's top environmental watchdog has said that damage caused by a cultural festival held on the banks of the Yamuna River a year ago would need at least a decade to be fixed.

The panel set up by the National Green Tribunal after the Art of Living Foundation's World Culture Festival said restoring the river banks would cost around 420 million rupees ($6.5 million).

The panel said Wednesday that construction of roads, ramps and a massive stage for the three-day spectacle damaged vast tracts of the river's flood plains.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top Delhi government officials attended the festival hosted by Hindu spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar despite criticism from environmental activists about damage to the river banks.