The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday directed Art of Living and other parties to file a reply and objections to the expert panel report on Yamuna floodplains damage due to the cultural extravaganza that was held over three days in March in 2016.
On Wednesday, in a statement, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had blamed the Centre and NGT, saying if anyone has to pay a fine, it should be them for giving permissions to hold the festival in the first place. NGT has slammed Art of Living over Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's statement, calling it “shocking”.
If at all, any fine has to be levied, it should be levied on the Central and state governments and the NGT itself, for giving the permission. If the Yamuna was so fragile and pure, they should have stopped the World Culture Festival.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
He accused the NGT of defying all principles of natural justice, and said "a historic programme deserving of applause and appreciation is unjustly projected as a crime".
"World over, cultural programmes are held on riverbanks. The whole idea was to bring awareness to save the river. The Art of Living that has rejuvenated 27 rivers, planted 71 million trees, revived several ponds is being projected as destroying a dead river. What a joke," he said.
The AOL had obtained all the necessary permission including the NGT’s. The NGT had the application file for two months and they could have stopped it in the beginning. It defies all principles of natural justice that you give permissions and slap a fine for not violating any rules.
An expert committee had told the NGT that a whopping Rs 42.02 crore would be required to restore Yamuna floodplains which was ravaged due to a cultural extravaganza organised by AOL last year.
The expert panel has suggested that there would be two components of rehabilitation plan – physical and biological, and they would cost Rs 28.73 crore and Rs 13.29 crore respectively, besides additional ancillary expenses.