AOL cries foul after being blamed for destroying Yamuna floodplain

New Delhi [India], Apr. 12 (ANI): After the National Green Tribunal (NGT) held that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living (AOL) was responsible for destroying the Yamuna floodplain during the 'World Culture Festival', the foundation today cried foul while terming it to be a 'conspiracy.'

The foundation also stated 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.

"The head of the NGT's expert committee who was not even a technical person noticed that the figure of Rs 100-120 crore (which was recommended by the committee after one cursory visit to the site) did not have any scientific basis and requested the Chairperson of NGT not to consider it. It is unprecedented that technical persons like Shri CR Babu, Shri AK Gosain and Shri Brij Gopal recommended an arbitrary figure without any scientific basis. Our legal team will have to study the basis of this new figure," Desai said.

"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.

Asserting that the AOL has been the victim of a conspiracy, Desai further said that they would fight for the truth to come out.

"The Art of Living is a responsible and environment-sensitive NGO. 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," he added.

The NGT appointed Committee of Experts has 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 has 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. five crore as interim environment compensation on the foundation for damaging biodiversity of the ecologically sensitive floodplains. (ANI)