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Art of Living gets no relief from green panel

AFTER-EFFECT:The Yamuna floodplain soon after the World Culture Festival in New Delhi.— File photo: Shanker Chakravarty

AFTER-EFFECT:The Yamuna floodplain soon after the World Culture Festival in New Delhi.— File photo: Shanker Chakravarty  

The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday rejected the plea of Art of Living that it should not be forced to pay an environment compensation of Rs. 4.75 crore in cash instead of a bank guarantee.

It also imposed Rs.5,000 in fine on the foundation headed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for filing such an application which “lacks bona fide” and directed it to pay in a week the remainder of the costs imposed on it for damaging the Yamuna’s biodiversity.

A Bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, pulled up the organisation for not depositing the amount despite an assurance to the tribunal.

Blames media

The organisation alleged that various media houses tried to “tarnish” its reputation by wrongly mentioning the environment compensation as “penalty” or “fine”.

The Bench said: “First, discharge your obligations and then make allegations. You always try to create a way out. One of your trustees made a statement before us that the foundation would deposit the amount in three weeks and now you want extension of time. This is totally unacceptable… You cannot make allegations and accusations against everybody and anybody.” The foundation said it might appeal against the tribunal’s order.

On March 9, the tribunal refused to prohibit the ‘World Culture Festival’, organised by the NGO between March 11 and 13, but imposed a fine of Rs. 5 crore on the foundation for damaging the Yamuna’s biodiversity and aquatic life.

On March 11, foundation sought four weeks for depositing the amount.— PTI

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