AOL damaged Yamuna floodplains, expert panel informs NGT

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New Delhi | Published: August 10, 2016 9:24:44 PM

The green panel had on March 9 refused to prohibit the festival held between March 11 and 13 but asked it to pay a compensation of Rs 5 crore for damaging biodiversity and aquatic life of Yamuna.

The green panel had on March 9 refused to prohibit the festival held between March 11 and 13 but asked it to pay a compensation of Rs 5 crore for damaging biodiversity and aquatic life of Yamuna. (Reuters)The green panel had on March 9 refused to prohibit the festival held between March 11 and 13 but asked it to pay a compensation of Rs 5 crore for damaging biodiversity and aquatic life of Yamuna. (Reuters)

The National Green Tribunal today directed Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living (AOL) to submit its response within three weeks on the inspection report of Yamuna flood plains here by an expert committee which has concluded that its three-day ‘World Culture Festival’ extravaganza has caused damage to the riverbed.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the expert committee, headed by Shashi Shekhar, Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources, to quantify the damage and furnish a tentative cost for restoration of the areawithin 45 days.

The green panel granted liberty to the committee, also comprising senior scientist from National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Professor C R Babu, Professor A K Gosain, Professor Brij Gopal and two more members, to seek assistance of a specialised agency in determining the cost of restoration.

“An inspection report by the expert committee dated July 28 has been placed before the tribunal. Copies of the report be furnished to all the counsel and three weeks time is granted to file replies,” the bench said.

During the hearing, the counsel for AOL said the allegations of environmental damage are “unscientific, biased and unsustainable” and sought a copy of the inspection report which was filed in a sealed cover to file its response.

The matter has now been listed for the next hearing on September 28.

Earlier, AOL foundation had deposited Rs 4.75 crore “environment compensation” with Delhi Development Authority as directed by NGT for damaging Yamuna’s biodiversity during its ‘World Culture Festival’ in March.

The green panel had on March 9 refused to prohibit the festival held between March 11 and 13 but asked it to pay a compensation of Rs 5 crore for damaging biodiversity and aquatic life of Yamuna.

On March 11, AOL had moved a plea seeking four weeks time for depositing the amount after which the tribunal allowed the foundation to deposit Rs 25 lakh on that day and granted three weeks time period to pay the balance amount.

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