New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday said that charges of a bias report on damage to the Yamuna riverbed leveled by spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on them is ‘shocking’.
Speaking on the issue, the green panel slammed the Art of Living (AOL) and said that the organisation has no sense of responsibility.
“You have no sense of responsibility. Do you think you have the liberty to say whatever you want?” said the NGT to AOL.
The NGT bench asked the petitioner Manoj Mishra to file an application with details of statement so that the court can take the issue on record.
The next date of hearing has been scheduled for May 9.
Earlier in the month, after the NGT stated that spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living (AOL) was responsible for destroying the Yamuna floodplain during the ‘World Culture Festival’, the foundation cried foul while terming it to be a ‘conspiracy.’
The foundation also asserted that its legal team will study the NGT report and decide on the future course of action.
“The report has been leaked to the media once again even as we were getting hold of our copy. This was expected from them as their malfide intentions to malign us, has been evident since the beginning,” said Kedar Desai, the spokesperson of The Art of Living.
In a statement, Desai also said that the NGT’s expert committee, which was supposed to be non-interested parties to the case and were to act as the eyes and ears of the judges, have given biased interviews in public while the case is sub-judice.
“How come Shri CR Babu who is one of the senior-most member of the Committee gave a media interview maligning The Art of Living by concluding that WCF had caused damage even before any assessment was done. This shows bias beyond doubt,” he added.
The NGT appointed Committee of Experts earlier found the AOL foundation responsible for destroying the entire Yamuna floodplain area used by the foundation for its event during the ‘World Culture Festival’ earlier in March 2016.
The expert panel told the NGT that the rehabilitation of Yamuna floodplains destroyed by AOL’s ‘World Culture Festival’ will cost Rs. 13.29 crores and take almost 10 years.
The green panel had last year allowed the AOL to hold the three-day ‘ World Culture Festival’ on the Yamuna flood plains but following the event the former slapped a fine of Rs. 5 crore as interim environment compensation on the foundation for damaging biodiversity of the ecologically sensitive floodplains.