Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's NGO Art of Living has paid the outstanding amount of the fine imposed on it for damage to the Yamuna floodplains where it held its World Culture Festival in March, reported ANI. The National Green Tribunal has asked the organisation to cough up Rs 5 crore for violations, of which the NGO earlier paid Rs 25 lakh, and Rs 4.75 crore on June 3.
On June 3, Shankar had said, “We will pay the cash, but fight to get it back and use it for development purposes. We could even go to the Supreme Court.” The spiritual leader said he was not convinced that the river bank has been damaged. Ravi Shankar said he has asked the Union ministry of environment and forests to form an independent panel to sort out the matter. “Let a scientific panel look into the charges," he added.
The three-day World Culture Festival was organised from March 11. It was held to celebrate the foundation’s 35 years in existence. Nearly 36,000 artistes from around the globe performed there and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also present. However, environmentalists had accused organisers of damaging vegetation and ruining the river's fragile ecosystem and disrupting water flow.