Art of Living to Move SC Post NGT Verdict on Yamuna Banks’ Damage
The NGT has asked the Delhi Development Authority to use the fine paid by Art of Living for restoration of the Yamuna banks.
The NGT has asked the Delhi Development Authority to use the fine paid by Art of Living for restoration of the Yamuna banks. (Photo altered by The Quint

Art of Living to Move SC Post NGT Verdict on Yamuna Banks’ Damage

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) held the Art of Living (AOL) responsible for the destruction of Yamuna floodplains on Thursday, 7 December. The floodplains were destroyed during the World Culture Festival in 2016.

The tribunal, however, did not levy additional fine from the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar led AOL, saying that the fine of Rs 5 crore already levied on the organisation will be used for the restoration of the floodplains.

The bench, headed by NGT chairperson Swatentar Kumar, also asked the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to assess damage caused to floodplains and compute restoration cost in line with expert panel’s recommendations.

As reported by The Hindu, the NGT also said that if the amount required for the restoration is above Rs 5 crore, it is supposed to recover the additional amount from the organisation.

The bench, however, refused to decide whether AOL was authorised for holding the event at the banks of Yamuna, saying that this aspect of the matter was beyond the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

According to the report, the NGT also pulled up the DDA for failing to protect the floodplains.

The DDA has failed to perform its statutory functions of maintaining the ecology. It shall assess the quantum of damage and carry out the restoration work

Also Read : Ensure no Animal Waste, Blood Seeps into Yamuna: NGT to Delhi

AOL to Approach SC

In an official reaction to the NGT verdict, AOL reiterated that they were not at fault for the destruction, and announced plans to approach the Supreme Court for justice.

Soon after the verdict, the AOL’s official Twitter handle also came out with a video, calling it ‘The truth behind Art of Living’s Yamuna festival’

In April 2017, a committee headed by Shashi Shekhar, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, said the restoration would cost over Rs 13 crore and take almost 10 years to restore the damaged floodplains. The committee ,in its 47-page report, had also said that the Yamuna banks had lost almost all its natural vegetation due to the event.

(With inputs from PTI and The Hindu)

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