Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's bias remarks shocking, Art of Living has no sense of responsibility: NGT

The country's highest environmental court sharply criticised Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for alleging bias in a tribunal committee's recent report on Yamuna riverbed damage.

The National Green Tribunal, the highest environmental court in the country, today slammed Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for alleging bias in a tribunal committee's recent report on Yamuna riverbed damage.

The report criticised Ravi Shankar's Art of Living for its World Culture Festival, held in March last year, for damaging the Yamuna riverbank.

The NGT today termed Ravi Shankar's statements alleging bias "shocking" and also slammed Art of Living.

"You have no sense of responsibility. Do you think you have the liberty to say whatever you want?" the NGT bench asked, setting the next date of hearing to May 9.

THE REPORT

An expert committee recently told the National Green Tribunal that it would cost Rs. 13.29 crore and take around 10 years to mitigate the damage caused to the Yamuna floodplains by AOL's event last year.

The expert committee was headed by Shashi Shekhar, the Union secretary water resources.

"It has been estimated that approximately 120 hectares (about 300 acres) of floodplains of west (right bank) of the river Yamuna and about 50 hectares (120 acres) floodplains of the eastern side (left bank) of the river have been adversely impacted ecologically at different magnitudes," the report had said.

"The ground is now totally levelled, compacted and hardened and is totally devoid of water bodies or depressions and almost completely devoid of any vegetation," the 47-page report also said.

"The area where the grand stage was erected (and the area immediately behind it) is heavily consolidated - most likely with a different kind of external material used to level the ground and compress it," the committee added.

'UNSCIENTIFIC AND BIASED'

Responding to the report, Art of Living said, "This report is completely flawed, unscientific and biased".

"We have placed significant material on record before the NGT (National Green Tribunal) which clearly shows the committee is biased. Our application in this regard has not yet been heard," Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was d as saying in a statement by news agency IANS.

"From randomly pronouncing damages for Rs 120 crore, they have come down to Rs 13 crore; from permanent damage, they are now saying 10 years. From damage to wetlands, they are now saying damage to floodplains. Their inconsistencies expose their lies," the statement further added.

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