NGT slams Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for Yamuna plains damage

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday slammed Art of Living (AoL) founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for blaming the Central government and the green panel for the Yamuna plains damage.

“Just because you have filed an application, who gives you the liberty to say what you want. You have no sense of responsibility,” NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.

The comments came after advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for petitioner Manoj Misra, told the bench about Ravi Shankar’s statement blaming the government and the NGT for permitting the AoL to hold the World Culture Festival on the Yamuna floodplains last year.

In his statement on Wednesday, Ravi Shankar said the authorities should have never given permission to hold the Festival if the Yamuna was “so fragile and pure”.

He said the fine should be levied on the NGT as well as the central and Delhi governments for giving permission to hold the event.

Taking exception to his statements, the bench gave two weeks’ time to the AoL to file objections and posted the matter for further hearing on May 9.

Ravi Shankar on Thursday reiterated that the AoL caused no damage to the Yamuna floodplains. “Those who say the Art of Living is irresponsible simply don’t know us or have gained a sense of humour,” he tweeted.

“The truth is we have caused no damage to the Yamuna. When lies are exposed, it is shocking.”

Ravi Shankar added that the NGT-appointed committee had been “irresponsible and inconsistent” in its reports.

“From Rs 120 crore for wetlands to Rs 13 crore for flood plains. From permanent damage to 10 years,” he said.

A seven-member expert committee, headed by former Secretary of Water Resources Ministry Shashi Shekhar, had said it would take Rs 42.02 crore and a decade for the ecological rehabilitation of the Yamuna floodplains from adverse damages caused by the mega festival.