AoL pays Rs 5 crore compensation to NGT but says they didn't damage Yamuna floodplains
NEW DELHI: The Art of Living (AoL) Foundation led by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Monday said it has paid the Rs.5-crore environment compensation imposed by the National Green Tribunal but maintained it did not cause any damage to the Yamuna floodplains in Delhi.
"We are yet to produce our evidence in court. We are presenting the evidence before the media just to enable the people understand that we have done nothing wrong," Jaideep Nath of AoL said.
"We paid the compensation to assure the National Green Tribunal that we are financially good. We have paid the amount but if we win the case, we will ask for its refund," he added.
Nath said in the first place, there was never any biodiversity in the floodplains which the World Culture Festival organised by the AoL in March would have destroyed.
"It is an agricultural land ploughed by the locals. We never levelled it, as is being alleged by many as it was already a plain and level piece of land," Nath asserted.
AoL lawyer Kedar Desai said: "The foundation's legal team is studying the NGT's verdict and we will decide whether to challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court or not, once court summer vacations are over."
On March 9, the NGT refused to prohibit the holding of the World Culture Festival on the Yamuna floodplains, but slapped a fine of Rs.5 crore on the foundation.
The foundation deposited only Rs.25 lakh before the three-day event kicked off on March 11.
On May 31, the NGT directed the AoL to pay the remaining Rs.4.75 crore as environment compensation.