The Art of Living Foundation has asked the National green Tribunal to accept a bank guarantee instead of the outstanding amount of the compensation that was imposed on it for violating environmental norms on the Yamuna floodplains, where it held the World culture Festival to mark 35 years of its functioning, reported NDTV.
In its plea, the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar-led organisation said,"The applicant is in the process of preparing proposal laying down process/methodology for collection of scientific data/evidence regarding assessment of actual environmental damage, if any, and hopes to persuade that the damage is neither permanent nor irreversible." In doing so, the organisation has sought an opportunity to prove that the allegations levelled against it are baseless.
An expert committee formed by the Tribunal had initially recommended that a Rs 120-crore fine, though the Tribunal will take a final call on this after a hearing in the case on April 21-22. The panel which is tasked with assessing the quantum of environmental damage caused by the event, has held that it will not visit the site unless the large stage set up for the event is dismantled, which is yet to happen, reported The Indian Express.
After paying Rs 25 lakh initially, the Foundation was supposed to pay the outstanding Rs 4.75 crore of the Rs 5-crore fine on April 1. “Not making the payment of Rs 4.75 crore within the time-limit and seeking an extension [on the very last day on April 1) to submit only a bank guarantee, is in contravention of not only the NGT direction dated March 11, 2016 but also its [AOL] own undertaking given to the NGT in the matter,” Manoj Mishra of the Yamuna Jive Abhiyan told The Indian Express.
The green panel on Monday also issued notices to the Delhi government, the Delhi Development Authority and Art of Living, and sought replies to Mishra's plea that requested the body to review the order that allowed the event, reported The Hindu.