Accept bank guarantee instead of payment of balance amount as fine: Art of Living to NGT

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living has moved the National Green Tribunal asking it to accept the fine, slapped for damaging Yamuna’s biodiversity, as bank guarantee instead of “payment of balance amount.”

As reported by PTI, the green panel on 9 March had refused to cancel the ‘World Culture Festival’ but had imposed a fine of Rs 5 crore on his Art of Living foundation for damaging biodiversity and aquatic life of Yamuna.

Although the NGT had asked the AOL to make the payment for it to be allowed to go ahead with the event, the former failed to take any action against Ravi Shankar’s organisation despite its non-compliance.

Later on 11 March, AOL moved a plea seeking four weeks time for depositing the amount after which the tribunal allowed the foundation to deposit Rs 25 lakh on that day and granted three weeks time period to pay the balance amount.

“The applicant submits that the present application is being filed for modification of the order dated March 9 and March 11 to allow for submission for security by way of a bank guarantee in lieu of payment of balance amount as directed.

“The applicant is in the process of preparing proposal laying down process/methodology for collection of scientific data/evidence regarding assessment of actual environmental damage, if any, and hopes to persuade that the damage is neither permanent nor irreversible but, in fact, remediable and respectfully seeks an opportunity to demonstrate that the allegations levelled against it are completely without foundation and the reports submitted by expert committees which form the basis of previous orders were predominantly based on visual examination of the site rather than a detailed scientific assessment which, in any event, was not possible due to paucity of time,” the plea said.

AOL has also sought to submit a proposal for laying down methodology for collection of scientific data regarding assessment of actual environmental damage and requested the tribunal to grant 45 days for the same.

Recently, Manoj Mishra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan filed a review plea challenging the NGT order which had dismissed his petition on the ground of “delay and laches on the part of the applicant in approaching the tribunal”.

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