AOL vs NGT: DDA says Yamuna floodplains restoration may take 10 years
The National Green Tribunal on Thursday said trhat the Delhi Development Authority would be responsible for restoring biodiversity on the Yamuna floodplains as it was the DDA that allowed Art of Living to hold the three-day World Culture Festival.
Earlier, both the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Ministry of Water Resources told the NGT that they were "not responsible" for the damage to the floodplains, and that they should not be the ones to pay the fine. The ministries clearly pinned the blame on DDA for granting permission.
When NGT asked DDA about the time needed to restore the Yamuna floodplain, the DDA said, "We have no expertise, it may take upto 10 years."
AOL's Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had in April said his foundation had obtained all necessary permissions to hold the event. He said the event could have been stopped from being held if Yamuna was so 'fragile'.
The Art of Living founder had said that the Centre, Delhi government and the National Green Tribunal should be held responsible for allowing his foundation to organise the World Culture Festival on the Yamuna floodplains in March 2016.
Fuming over Ravi Shanker's remark, the NGT on April 20 said, "Do you have no sense of responsibility? Do you think you have the liberty to say whatever you want?"
The NGT had levied a fine, but the AOL shot back saying that if at all a fine has to be levied then it should be on the NGT, Centre and Delhi government.
During the hearing, lawyer Sanjay Parikh, representing petitioner Manoj Misra, said the initial amount of Rs five crore, which AOL had deposited as environment compensation, should be used for restoration of the damaged Yamuna floodplains.
The court, however, did not consider this and directed the AOL and other parties in the case to file their responses and objections on the expert panel's findings within two weeks after taking the report on record.