Disappointed with NGT verdict, will move Supreme Court: Art of Living Foundation

Olive Hawkins
December 7, 2017

It added that if the charges for the restoration work exceed Rs 5 crore, it would be recovered from Art of Living.

"We hold Art Of Living responsible for the damage to the Yamuna floodplains...."

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today held Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living (AoL) "responsible" for causing damage to the Yamuna floodplains by conducting the World Culture Festival there and directed that the Rs 5 crore paid by the organisation in fine be utilised by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for restoration of the affected area.

It said the AoL is a law abiding body and would appeal in the Supreme Court for justice.

Taking cognizance of the High Power Committee (HPC) report, the bench held "there has been grave environmental degradation and AoL is responsible with the restoration and restitution of the land which was given to them by DDA".

"The DDA has failed to perform its statutory functions of maintaining the ecology".

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According to an estimate, the damages caused by the three-day event will take nearly 10 years to restore.

The AoL's contention came in the backdrop of an expert committee earlier telling the NGT that a whopping Rs 42.02 crore would be required to restore Yamuna floodplains which were ravaged due to the AoL cultural extravaganza.

The foundation, however, said it would approach the Supreme Court with the issue: "disappointed with the decision taken by the NGT for damaging Yamuna floodplains during its World Culture Festival". However, it did not fine the DDA as it has already initiated setting up biodiversity parks along the Yamuna floodplains. "If it is less, the rest of the amount will be refunded", he said.

Expressing "disappointment" over the the NGT verdict, the AoL claimed that it had complied with all environment norms and its submissions were not considered. "We are confident that we will get justice before the Supreme Court", the statement said.

The tribunal had also heard arguments of the Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Art of Living.

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