Art of Living loses NGT appeal on compensation for holding festival on Yamuna floodplains

The green court had fined the organisation Rs 5 crore for damaging the ecologically sensitive Yamuna floodplains where its World Culture Festival was held.

The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday rejected an appeal filed by Art of Living over a Rs 5-crore fine it was ordered to pay for reportedly damaging the Yamuna floodplains. The organisation had held its World Culture Festival on 1,000 acres across the banks of the Yamuna in March, which was attended by several lakh people.

The foundation had paid Rs 25 lakh of the Rs 5-crore fine and filed an appeal in the green court, asking that the amount they owed be treated as a bank guarantee that should apply towards efforts to create a biodiversity park in the area, NDTV reported.

On April 22, the green tribunal had pulled up the foundation for not allowing inspections at the site of the festival, to which Art of Living said it was still cleaning up the area when an inspection team arrived there on April 15.

Soon after the order imposing the fine was passed, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had said he would rather go to jail than pay the fine. He also said the foundation had left the area in a much better state than it was before the festival, and claimed that no trees were cut down in the area. An NGT panel had initially recommended a fine of Rs 120 crore be imposed on Art of Living.

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