Art of Living (AOL) Foundation today moved the National Green Tribunal challenging the appointment of an expert committee for inspection of site on Yamuna floodplains where a three-day World Cultural Festival was organised by it under Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s patronage.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, which had ordered the Expert Committee to assess the damage caused to Yamuna floodplains due to the festival, sought response of the other parties on AOL’s plea.
The tribunal, however, said it would consider tomorrow AOL’s prayer for assessing of site by another independent body like National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).
“What is your problem? You keep on filing applications. How can you raise fingers, these persons in Expert Committee are highly qualified… What is the status of inspection? Has the committee inspected the site? Tell us tomorrow,” the bench said.
On May 25, an expert committee comprising C R Babu, A K Gosain and Brij Gopal was directed by NGT to inspect the site and assess the damage allegedly caused to the floodplains of Yamuna due to the activities of the foundation.
AOL has sought reconstitution of an “independent” and an “unbiased” expert committee to examine the alleged impact of the World Culture Festival on the Yamuna floodplains.
“The Art of Living objects to the existing committee comprising Brij Gopal, Prof Gosain, Prof C R Babu headed by Sashi Shekhar, who arrived at an arbitrary figure of Rs 120 crore based on a very ‘brief’ assessment, without following a scientific process. The committee has pre-judged the issue and are under self-imposed pressure to justify that figure, creating a bias for itself,” AOL said.