ibusinesslines.com March 17, 2018

NGT slams Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for Yamuna plains damage

20 April 2017, 06:48 | Erica Roy

Art of Living hasn't caused damage to Yamuna says Sri Ravi Shankar

Art of Living hasn't caused damage to Yamuna says Sri Ravi Shankar

Barely an hour after the National Green Tribunal slammed Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his Art of Living foundation, the spiritual leader responded saying AOL has done no wrong. "You have no sense of responsibility", NGT Chairperson Swatantra Kumar said.

"Yesterday, Sri Sri said that if any damage has been caused to the environment by the huge three-day cultural festival he held on the banks of the River Yamuna in Delhi a year ago, it is the government and the court who should take the blame, because they allowed the event".

A day after spiritual figure and founder of Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravi Shankar blamed the government and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for permitting his NGO to hold the World Culture Festival on the Yamuna river bed, NGT slammed him and said that the founder's statement was shocking.

The AOL had said it is the government and the NGT that should be fined.

"We have placed significant material on record before the NGT which clearly shows the committee is biased". It had initially imposed a Rs 5 crore interim compensation on AOL for the environmental damage caused by the event.

Ravinshankar, however, shot back, "The truth is we have caused no damage to the Yamuna".

The foundation also asserted that its legal team will study the NGT report and decide on the future course of action.

He went on criticising the expert panel appointed by the green tribunal. "From permanent damage to 10yrs & appointing themselves to restore the place".

A seven-member expert committee, headed by former Secretary of Water Resources Ministry Shashi Shekhar, had said it would take Rs 42.02 crore and a decade for the ecological rehabilitation of the Yamuna floodplains from adverse damages caused by the mega festival. In it recommendations to the NGT, the expert committee said that major restoration work has to be carried out to compensate for the damage to Yamuna floodplains.

Earlier in this month, after the NGT stated that Sri Sri's AOL was responsible for destroying the Yamuna floodplain during the "World Culture Festival", the foundation today cried foul while terming it to be a "conspiracy".

"From Rs 120 crore for wetlands to Rs 13 crore for flood plains".

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