‘Things are changing’: AoL counsel on depositing Rs.5 crore fine

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) After Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s refusal to pay the fine of Rs.5 crore slapped by the National Green Tribunal, Art of Living on Thursday asserted that things were changing every moment and they have time to comply with the tribunal’s order.

“We have lot of time as the event is beginning tomorrow (Friday) evening. Things are changing every moment. We are focusing on things to make the event successful,” Akshama Nath, counsel for Art of Living (AoL) told IANS when asked if the foundation was willing to pay the fine.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had imposed an initial fine of Rs.5 crore on AoL headed by spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for flouting the environmental regulations and degrading the ecology of Yamuna flood plain where the organisation is organising the World Cultural Festival from March 11 to 13.

The tribunal’s order came on the pleas by NGOs and environmentalists who had sought cancellation of the festival on the ground that it would seriously endanger the fragile ecosystem on the yamuna flood plain.

Delhi Development Authority (DDA) also submitted to the NGT that the “AoL has not deposited fine with them till the time of hearing”.

Meanwhile, the NGT asked the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) if they had issued directions to AoL for the event in accordance with the order passed by the tribunal on Wednesday.

In its reply, DPCC said “directions will be issued soon after the expert committee completes the inspection of the site”.

An expert committee comprising senior officials from Central Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Ministry of Water Resources and DPCC inspected the Yamuna flood plain where the World Culture Festival will be held.

“The Art of Living has not got the permission from the department of Water resources, Delhi Police, department of fire control and safety for the event. We will move the application in the tribunal regarding the safety of the stage and the venue tomorrow (Friday) morning if required,” Sanjay Parikh told reporters after the hearing.

Parikh is counsel of Manoj Misra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan who filed a petition against the holding of the festival at the NGT.

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