The National Green Tribunal on Thursday pulled up the Art of Living Foundation for not allowing inspections at the Yamuna floodplains, where its World Culture Festival took place last month. On Friday, the NGT is expected to pass an order on the foundation’s controversial event, which is believed to have caused damage to the area’s ecology. The NGT asked the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar-led foundation why and on what authority it had disallowed a high-powered committee, set up by the tribunal, from inspecting the site where the festival was held.
The foundation’s counsel claimed they were still cleaning up the site when the inspection team arrived on April 15, and they wanted the team to return once they had handed the area back over to the Delhi Development Authority on April 18. The foundation also claimed it had returned the land in better condition than it was in before.
In March, the NGT had fined the foundation Rs 5 crore for causing damage to the floodplains through the massive festival. The committee told the NGT that the foundation had only paid the initial Rs 25 lakh of the fine, and was yet to pay the rest. The NGT had earlier estimated an appropriate fine of Rs 120 crore, it settled on the Rs 5-crore figure after a long set of deliberations.