AoL asked to pay Rs4.75 crore as environment compensation

New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday directed the Art of Living (AOL) foundation to pay the remaining Rs4.75 crore as environment compensation for damage incurred to Yamuna floodplains due to the World Culture Festival (WCF) held in March.

The NGT had levied Rs5 crore environment compensation on the foundation, out of which it had deposited Rs25 lakh before the three-day event kicked off on March 11.

The principal bench of Justice Swatanter Kumar dismissed the AoL’s plea whereby the foundation offered to pay the remaining amount through a bank guarantee.

Meanwhile, the Art of Living said it is exploring the option of challenging the tribunal’s order in the Supreme Court.

“We find the verdict unjust and, if need be, after reviewing the order we will go to the Supreme Court, We have not violated any law or done any wrong,” said an AoL statement.

“We don’t agree with the tribunal’s observations. The Art of Living has neither polluted air, water or earth. We have left the WCF site in a better condition than what we got. We have an extensive repertoire for environmental work and find these allegations unacceptable,” said the statement.

“What a section of the media is enthusiastically calling a fine is not a fine but a compensation deposit.”

The AoL claimed that the NGT passed the order on a report prepared on the basis of a mere visual inspection and that no scientific assessment of the site was done.

“We have been asked to compensate an amount arrived at arbitrarily. The damage has not even been assessed,” the AoL said.

–IANS

vin/tsb

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