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Above: World Cultural Festival at Yamuna floodplains in New Delhi (file picture)/Photo: Anil Shakya

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday (December 7) held liable Art of Living (AoL) for harming the ecosystem of the Yamuna floodplains by organizing three-day cultural festival last year and ordered AoL to compensate for the restoration works.

The NGT bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justices Jawed Rahim, Raghuvendra S Rathore and Bikram Singh Sajwan observed “regulating the right to hold cultural meeting is beyond their jurisdiction”.

Taking cognizance of the High Power Committee (HPC) report, the bench held “there has been grave environmental degradation and AoL is responsible with the restoration and restitution of the land which was given to them by DDA.

“DDA shall examine the quantum of damage and the cost of Rs five crores given by AoL will be utilised by DDA in restoration and restitution work on the supervision of HPC. If the restoration and restitution cost less than 5 crores then the rest amount will be refunded to AoL,” the bench said.

The bench further added, “DDA failed to exercise its powers with regard to maintaining the ecology and floodplain. DDA and irrigation dept is responsible for carrying out restoration and restitution work.”

—India Legal Bureau

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