Millennium Post

AOL has time till tomorrow to pay Rs 5 crore fine: NGT

The National Green Tribunal today made it clear to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art Of Living (AOL) Foundation which is organising World Culture Festival that it has time till tomorrow to pay Rs five crore fine and law will take its own course if it fails to do so.

"They still have time till tomorrow to deposit Rs 5 crore fine as environment compensation in compliance with the directions of the tribunal," the Green Tribunal said on an application which said AOL has not paid the amount till today.

"If there is any breach of any condition, the matter will be taken up as and when required and law will take its own course," NGT Chairperson Swatantar Kumar said.

The tribunal also refused to give an urgent hearing on a fresh plea seeking stay on the three-day event on the banks of river Yamuna from tomorrow, alleging that AOL has not taken permissions from competent authority as directed by the tribunal.

"There is no urgency in it. You can file a proper application and point out the deficiencies in compliance with the directions of the tribunal. We will see if there is any breach or not as per the law," it said.

The green panel also directed Central Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Environment and Forests to issue proper directions to the organizers of the event with regard to disposal of municipal solid waste and drinking water.

The counsel appearing for the DPCC informed the tribunal that as directed by it, a committee is already visiting the site and if necessary, directions will be issued.

The tribunal, which had earlier in the morning asked the DDA counsel whether AOL had deposited the fine or not, had fixed the matter for 4 PM for in chamber hearing.

However, the green panel later agreed to hear the matter in the open court.

The NGT had yesterday expressed its helplessness in banning the event, saying it was "fait accompli".

Nevertheless, it had imposed a fine of Rs five crore on AOL as environmental compensation after coming down on it heavily for not disclosing its full plans and also on the DDA and Environment Ministry for their role.

The green tribunal, which found several environmental violations by the organisers, blamed the delay on the part of environmental activists in raising the issue before it which compelled it to grant permission for event.
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