Experts panel on WCF gave opinion before investigation: AoL to NGT

New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) The Art of Living (AoL) claimed before the National Green Tribunal that C.R Babu, member of its expert committee formed to assess damage to Yamuna flood plains due to AoL’s World Culture Festival (WCF), gave his decision “even before examining the area”.

The AoL referred to an interview of Babu in a magazine that it will take 5-10 years to restore flood plains and cost Rs 120 crore, as it noted that during the last hearing on July 19, the expert committee of which C.R Babu is a member, sought “more time” to complete the assessment.

“Mr Babu was an independent expert appointed by the NGT and he was suppose to submit his findings as a confidential report in a sealed envelope. While he had spoke to media, gave his decisions and disclosed his findings, without even conducting the assessments,” AoL’s legal advisor Kedar told IANS.

He alleged that another member of the expert committee in a letter admits that “the Rs 120 crore assessment” was based on unscientific hypothesis and pre-conceived.

“The problem is that now the expert committee would be under pressure to uphold their unscientific decision, because its most unlikely that they would accept their fault,” he said.

“…this clearly reflects bias and a pre-conceived and a predetermined mind and prejudice on the part of Mr C.R Babu. I respectfully submit that this is extremely wrong on the part of an independent expert to openly express his opinion before even conducting any scientific investigation which exhibits massive prejudice..” AoL’s application submitted on July 19 stated.

“May I request that NGT may consider this view as the recommendation rather than as an adhoc figure of Rs 120 crore as cost of restoration which did not have any scientific basis,” AoL added in its application.

The World Culture Festival was held here from March 11 to 13, was embroiled in a controversy that it harmed the local ecology as well as disturbed the farmers and their crops.

The NGT had imposed a fine on Aol for organising the event in the flood plains.

The Festival attracted 172 leaders from across globe, and over 3.7 million people from 155 countries. The seven-acre stage on which the event was hosted was build in 50 days and dismantled in 28.

–IANS

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