On April 20, the National Green Tribunal (NGT – a tribunal established for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources) slammed Art of Living (AOL) Foundation over Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's statement blaming Centre and green panel for Yamuna damage.
In this regard, the NGT said, "You have no sense of responsibility. Do you think you have the liberty to say whatever you want?" It further added, “Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's statement of alleged bias in NGT committee report on Yamuna riverbed damage is ‘shocking’.”
The NGT directed AOL and other parties to file replies and objections to the expert panel report on Yamuna flood plain damage caused by the World Culture Festival organized by Ravi Shankar in 2016.
A team of experts testified to the NGT that the event covered several hundred acres and "completely destroyed" the riverbed. According to the team, reversing the damage will take at least 10 years and an amount of around Rs 42 crores.
However, Ravi Shankar and the AOL Foundation denied all allegations of damaging Yamuna’s fragile ecosystem.
Reportedly, Ravi Shankar said, "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."
Notably, the NGT will continue to hear plea alleging environmental degradation on Yamuna floodplains caused by the 2016 World Culture Festival.
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