No further cost on AoL for destroying Yamuna floodplains

Mindy Sparks
December 7, 2017

"In case more funds are required, Art of Living will have to pay", the NGT chief said.

Workers dismantle the temporary stadia erected for an Art of Living event on the Yamuna floodplains on March 15, 2016.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to construct a biodiversity park near the river Yamuna with the amount deposited by the Art of Living as the fine for damaging Yamuna floodplains.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday (December 7) held liable Art of Living (AoL) for harming the ecosystem of the Yamuna floodplains by organizing three-day cultural festival previous year and ordered AoL to compensate for the restoration works.

A bench headed by the tribunal's Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar had on November 13 reserved its verdict after hearing the submissions of all concerned parties, including the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

The NGT had earlier slapped an interim fine Rs 5 crore on the AOL for environmental damage while efforts were made to ascertain the exact costs of the damage.

The bench further added, "DDA failed to exercise its powers with regard to maintaining the ecology and floodplain".

In its 47-page report, the high-powered panel had stated that the floodplains had lost "almost all its natural vegetation" like trees, shrubs, tall grasses, aquatic vegetation, including water hyacinth that provides habitat to a large number of animals, insects and mud-dwelling organisms because of the three-day event.

Expressing "disappointment" over the the NGT verdict, the AoL claimed that it had complied with all environment norms and its submissions were not considered.

"We will appeal to the Supreme Court".

The tribunal had also heard arguments of the Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Art of Living.

"We have never caused any damage to the environment but have in fact worked for preserving and reviving it through various environment-related projects over the years", the organisation said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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