New Delhi: In a huge setback to Sri Sri Ravishankar's Art of Living (AOL), the National Green Tribunal on Tuesday rejected the claim that no damage was caused to Yamuna riverbed during the three-day long World Cultural Event and directed the foundation to pay Rs 4.75 crore as compensation.
As per the report, a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar has asked the AOL foundation to deposit the fine by 7 pm today. The bench also observed that they had given permission to AOL to organise the grand cultural event on Yamuna riverbed on condition that it will pay the compensation.
The direction has come as a big blow to Sri Sri Ravishankar, who had claimed that the impact assessment of the Yamuna riverbed, following the event was done incorrectly.
Reacting to the controversy, the spiritual leader rubbished the allegations of ecological harm and said that they will challenge the order.
Since the Art of Living has not created any air, water or soil pollution, we will fight till the end for justice. #Yamuna
— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (@SriSri) May 31, 2016
Earlier in February, an expert committee of the green court had recommended slapping a fine of Rs 120 crore compensation fee for the environmental impact caused to the floodplain of Yamuna. The AOL had then claimed that they were unable to pay the fine because of it being a non-profitable organisation.
The green panel had then imposed an interim compensation of Rs 5 crore. However, even then, Sri Sri had refused to pay fine and said he was ready to go to the jail instead.
The three-day grand cultural event was organised from March 11-13 to celebrate 35 years of the foundation of Arts of Living.