NGT holds Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation responsible for damage to Yamuna floodplains
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s foundation will move Supreme Court against the National Green Tribunal’s decision. The Rs 5-crore fine will be used for restoration.delhi Updated: Dec 07, 2017 16:28 IST
The National Green Tribunal on Thursday held the Art of Living Foundation “responsible” for damage to the Yamuna floodplains caused by the World Culture Festival in 2016. The foundation, however, said it would approach the Supreme Court with the issue.
The tribunal, in its order, stated that the Rs 5 crore fine, which was paid up by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s foundation last year, will be used for restoration, DDA will be responsible for restoring floodplains.
“We hold Art Of Living responsible for the damage to the Yamuna floodplains…. We hold them responsible for the restoration to be carried out by the DDA,” the bench headed by NGT chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar said on Thursday.
Reacting to the order, the Art of Living in a statement, said it was “disappointed with the decision taken by the NGT for damaging Yamuna floodplains during its World Culture Festival. We do not agree with the verdict. Our submissions have not been dealt with or considered. We will appeal to the Hon’ble Supreme Court. We are confident that we will get justice before the Supreme Court.”
The green court had last month reserved its verdict after hearing the submissions of all parties concerned, including the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, which said that as per a 2006 environment impact assessment report, no environmental clearance was needed for the festival.
“Heard. Arguments concluded. Counsel for respondent 3 (Art Of Living) has been permitted to make submission for recapitulation of points recorded earlier. Judgement reserved,” the bench said.
The counsel for the DDA had informed the bench that it has plans for Yamuna riverbed beautification, afforestation, development of wetland and ecological restoration, adding that it would need 7-8 months for the tendering process for the two phases of Yamuna Floodplain Development Programme.
“DDA will further assess and set quantum of damage and submit a final compensation amount. If the amount is more, it is to be taken from Art Of Living for the damage caused. If it is less, the rest of the amount will be refunded,” Advocate Sanjay Parikh, who represented petitioner Manoj Misra from Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, said on Thursday.