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Pay fine by tomorrow or face action: NGT tells AOL

Sri-Sri-Ravi-Shankar

New Delhi : The National Green Tribunal on Thursday told Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living (AOL) foundation that it has time till Friday to deposit a fine of Rs. five crore, failing which the law will take its own course.

The tribunal, however, refused to give urgent hearing to a fresh plea seeking stay on the event on the ground that it had not taken requisite permission from the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), police and fire department.

Sanjay Parik, the complainant’s advocate, told the media that the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, Ministry of Environment and Forests, and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had to inspect and give directions to the foundation about the disposal and the arrangement of water in the function.

“Their (AOL) advocate told the NGT that the concerned authorities are inspecting and the directions would be issued today,” he added.

Parik further, “When we raised the issue of deposition of Rs. five crore, they said there is still time left since the direction states that they need to deposit the money before the event starts. As per the information available, the foundation hasn’t deposited the money till now.”

Asserting that the Art of Living has very high grounds, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar told ANI that the organisation would contest the fine of Rs. five crore imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ahead of the mega festival on the banks of the River Yamuna in Delhi amid environmental concerns.

“We have very high grounds and we will contest on that,” Sri Sri told ANI.

The 59-year-old also said that it was not a wrong decision on their part to organise the event on the banks of Yamuna.

“We went there and cleaned the place. The smell that used to come from that place is not coming anymore so much as it used to. So, we are for environment. And I appeal to all the environmentalists, let us all together make this a beautiful place. This cultural festival for few days is not going to damage and is not damaging the Yamuna,” he added.

Speaking on the report sent by three individual specialists on the three-day World Culture Festival, he said, “We won’t accept the report given by three people, who went there for half-an-hour. They should tell us what damage has been done. They should be sent again and they should tell us the extent of damage. They should tell us what was there before the construction.” (ANI)

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