Yamuna damage: NGT slams Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for alleging bias

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Following the National Green Tribunal's (NGT) criticism of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's comments claiming bias by the green panel, the spiritual guru on Thursday said that those who say the Art of Living (AOL) is irresponsible don't know about the organisation. NGT has slammed Art of Living over Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's statement, calling it "shocking".

"Yesterday, Sri Sri said that if any damage has been caused to the environment by the huge three-day cultural festival he held on the banks of the River Yamuna in Delhi past year, it is the government and the court who should take the blame, because they allowed the event".

He said the fine should be levied on the NGT as well as the central and Delhi governments for giving permission to hold the event.

"We have placed significant material on record before the NGT which clearly shows the committee is biased".

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Ravinshankar, however, shot back, "The truth is we have caused no damage to the Yamuna". They should be held responsible if any environmental damage was caused, he said.

"Our application in this regard has not yet been heard", Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was quoted as saying in a statement by news agency IANS.

The expert committee had told the NGT that a whopping Rs 42.02 crore would be required to restore the floodplains.

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The NGT-appointed panel elaborated the timeline and the mechanism to be undertaken to ensure revival of the riverbed.

An expert committee had told the NGT that Rs 42.02 crore would be required to fix the damage caused to the Yamuna floodplain by the cultural extravaganza organised by AOL in March a year ago. In it recommendations to the NGT, the expert committee said that major restoration work has to be carried out to compensate for the damage to Yamuna floodplains.

The NGT had allowed the event to take place stating that the matter was 'fait accompli, ' and hence they could not ban it.

The green panel had a year ago allowed the AOL to hold the three-day "World Culture Festival" on the Yamuna flood plains but following the event the former slapped a fine of Rs. 5 crore as interim environment compensation on the foundation for damaging biodiversity of the ecologically sensitive floodplains.

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