Art of Living event gets go-ahead with initial fine of Rs 5 crore

The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday ruled that the Art of Living mega festival can be held though the foundation will have to pay an initial compensation of Rs. 5 crore as environmental damage cost.

Preparations on in full swing for the World Cultural Festival, to be held on the Yamuna floodplains in New Delhi. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Additional fine and restoration programme will be detailed by the Tribunal on a later day.

The event, to be held from Friday to Sunday, has come under fire for its venue — the floodplains of the Yamuna. The NGT is hearing a petition filed by Manoj Misra, the convenor of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, seeking the shifting of the venue.

President Pranab Mukherjee was supposed to attend the valedictory session, but earlier this week the Rashtrapati Bhavan said that he would not be attending it after all.

Earlier in the day, the Central Public Works Department told the National Green Tribunal 7-acre stage being constructed for the Art of Living’s World Culture Festival was unstable, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is expected to inaugurate the event, should have another stage.

PTI adds

The NGT has also slapped fine of Rs. 5 lakh on the Delhi Development Authority and Rs. 1 lakh on Delhi Pollution Control Committee for not discharging statutory functions. The Tribunal has asked the organisation to give an undertaking by Thursday that enzymes will not be released into the Yamuna and no further degradation of environment will happen.

The environment compensation is to be deposited before the start of the programme. AOL has also been asked to develop the entire area in question into a biodiversity park.