New Delhi: When the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday allowed spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living (AOL) Foundation to go ahead with its mega World Culture Festival, it also fined the organisation Rs 5 crore for organising the event on the flood plain of Yamuna river in Delhi.
The reason: the festival will damage the fragile ecosystem of the Yamuna river.
However, Ravi Shankar insisted on Thursday that they have done nothing wrong by organising the mega festival near Yamuna river.
In an interview to NDTV, he even said that though AOL would appeal against the fine in court, he would not pay the amount and was instead ready to go to jail.
But, the NGT seems to have made it difficult for Ravi Shankar to defy its order on paying the Rs 5 crore fine.
ANI has reported that the NGT has clarified on its order and said if AOL fails to submit the penalty amount with the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) by 4 pm today, it can even withdraw the permission granted for the event.
Apart from the AOL, the tribunal had also imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the DDA and a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).
The NGT, headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, further ordered a study of the area to assess damage to the river's flood plain after the event, following which, the tribunal said, the fine may be increased manifold.
"You may have to pay for the restoration of environment," it said. Any damage to the water bodies would also have to be paid for.
The four-member green bench said AOL could be asked to pay for setting up a biodiversity park in the area.
The NGT was moved over the alleged violation of environmental laws and pollution of Yamuna river likely to be caused by the event which is to be held from March 11 to 13.
AOL had told the tribunal that three lakh people from 155 countries would attend. However, in its promotional literature, it had claimed that 35 lakh people would come.