World Culture Festival: AoL tells NGT it can't pay remaining penalty of Rs 4.75 Cr | WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs World Culture Festival: AoL tells NGT it can’t pay remaining penalty of Rs 4.75 Cr – WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs
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World Culture Festival: AoL tells NGT it can’t pay remaining penalty of Rs 4.75 Cr

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AOL

Art of Living (AoL) foundation expressed its inability to pay the “remaining green fine” of Rs.4.75 Crore to the National Green Tribunal that was levied against it in leu of alleged environment destruction caused by its World Culture Festival on the Yamuna floodplanes last month.

The foundation said it can only give a bank guarantee for it.

Petitioner Manoj Misra’s lawyer, Sanjay Parikh, has alleged that Art of Living did not intend to pay the penalty and was only “beating around the bush” since beginning of the case.

“They are doing so consistently from the very beginning. First they lied to the court in a sense that they don’t have money to pay for the environment destruction, their event had caused. Although the ministry of culture had released Rs.1.5 Crore for the event, but they told the court that they don’t have any money and got away by paying just Rs. 25 Lakhs in place of Rs.5 Crore,” Parikh told.

The development comes amid reports of ISIS threats to AoL head Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Parikh also expressed the apprehension that AoL was trying to get the March 9 NGT order nullified. The NGT in its judgment had established that there was “environment destruction caused to Yamuna Flood plains by the World Culture Festival” and instructed a principal committee “to verify the quantum of destruction occurred after inspecting.”

“AoL knows that principle committee’s report will be against them. So they are creating hurdles in their inspection. Now they are saying that they will decide on their own if at all any destruction has been caused to the flood planes by their event,” Parikh Said.

Meanwhile, officials from Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) confirmed, “they are not ready with the inspection report yet”.

The NGT committee comprised officials from DPCC, National Pollution Control Board, ministry of Environment and Forest Conservation and union Water Resource ministry.

AoL, though, countered the allegations insisting they have no hesitation to pay the money. “We have only asked for a change in the modalities of payment.”

The change, according to them: “We have no objection to pay the penalty if at all any damage has been done to the flood planes. We have just informed the NGT that we may like to pay in form of a Bank Gurantee than cash in this case,” AoL lawyer Akshama Nath told.

Replying to the question on creating hindrance in the way of NGT committee’s inspection, Nath blamed the delay in preparing the report on “inter-departmental mis-communication.”

“There was some confusion among the officials who visited the site for inspection and the higher up in the hierarchy of their department,” Nath said.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Development Authority has also expressed apprehensions that AoL may not pay the penalty to restore the damage done to the flood planes. They said a bank guarantee was not enough.

“If they had to do so they would have done that long back. The three weeks for paying full fine of Rs. 5 crore lapsed on April 1. The NGT committee is not at a stage to submit its report within stipulated deadline of eight weeks. If there is no report AoL’s probability of depositing the penalty is bleak,” DDA officials concerned with the case, who did not want to be named, told.

In fact, a four-member expert committee of NGT had said in its report that World Culture Festival organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation had destroyed parts of the flood-planes of Yamuna and it would require at least Rs.120 crore to restore the area to its original state.

The expert committee headed by Water Resources Secretary Shashim Shekhar was assisted by A.K. Gosain, a professor of IIT-Delhi, C.R. Babu and Brij Gopal.

India

Congress steps up attack on Yogi Adityanath govt

Punia alleged that UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath said in an interview to a TV channel that migrant workers were responsible for spreading the corona infection.

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PL Punia Congress

Lucknow, May 26 : The Congress has stepped up its attack on the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, accusing it of putting out fake statistics regarding coronavirus cases and also spreading communal hatred.

Senior Congress leader P L Punia, while addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, said that UPCC president Ajay Kumar Lallu had been sent to jail only because he was helping the migrant workers.

“No one is being allowed to meet the UPCC president and the Congress will not tolerate this injustice,” he said.

Punia alleged that UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath said in an interview to a TV channel that migrant workers were responsible for spreading the corona infection.

Meanwhile, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Aradhana Mishra said that the Yogi government had claimed that 25 lakh migrant workers had returned to UP.

“The government has said that the number of infected persons is 6228 so how can they claim that the 25 lakh migrant workers have brought the infection to UP? The chief minister should explain the basis of his claim,” she said.

Mishra demanded that the state government should come clean on the number of patients, testing figures and preparations made for corona.

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Judiciary, govt failed migrant workers: Congress

The court took the cognizance after several petitions were filed, highlighting the plight of migrant workers during the Covid-19 crisis.

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Worker in India

New Delhi, May 26 : The judiciary and the government had failed labourers, said the Congress, here on Tuesday, after the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of miseries of migrant workers, stranded across the country due to the lockdown announced to contain Covid-19 spread.

Terming it one of the worst case of reverse migration, Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said the rights that couldn’t be enforced on time were meaningless.

“With due respect, the Supreme Court taking cognizance of labourers’ issue after more than 60 days of harsh living and over 80 deaths, is a case of ‘justice delayed is justice denied’,” he said.

The Supreme Court said the media reports had continuously been showing the unfortunate and miserable condition of migrant labourers, walking on foot and cycling long distances.

Issuing notice to the Centre and all states/Union Territories, an apex court Bench, comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, S.K. Kaul and M.R. Shah, asked them to submit their responses looking into the urgency of the matter.

Stating that the petition will be taken up on Thursday, the Bench asked the Solicitor General to assist the court and bring to its notice all measures taken and to be taken by the Centre by the next date of hearing.

The Bench posted the hearing for May 28 and asked the Registry to serve a copy to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta as well states and UTs.

“Although the central and the state governments have taken measures, yet there have been inadequacies and certain lapses. We are of the view that effective concentrated efforts are required to redeem the situation,” the Bench said.

The court took the cognizance after several petitions were filed, highlighting the plight of migrant workers during the Covid-19 crisis.

Stressing the need for a helping hand to the migrant labourers, the apex court said, “They (migrants) have also been complaining of not being provided food and water by the administration at places where they were stranded or in the way i.e. highways from which they proceeded on foot, cycles or other modes of transport.”

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Arrest of UP Cong chief undemocratic: Priyanka Gandhi

He was arrested in a case of fraud and forgery, related to bungling in list of buses submitted by the Congress to the UP government for bringing migrant workers.

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Priyanka Gandhi Election

New Delhi, May 26 : Amid the political slugfest over migrant workers and arrest of UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi, here on Tuesday, termed his arrest undemocratic and violation of humanitarian principle, and demanded that he be released immediately.

“Throwing him into prison on baseless charges during a pandemic reveals the undemocratic and opportunistic mindset of the Yogi government and violates all humanitarian principles,” Priyanka Gandhi tweeted.

“We demand justice for him and will continue to fight until it’s delivered,” she said and also tweeted a video clip showing Lallu providing help to migrants.

“Having lived a life of struggle, perseverance and grit, the UP Congress chief knows well the suffering of displaced and marginalised people. He has fought for them steadfastly throughout his career,” tweeted Priyanka.

Lallu was arrested soon after he was granted bail in another case in Agra on Wednesday. Earlier, he had been arrested in Agra on Tuesday for protesting against the government’s refusal to allow movement of buses in the state.

He was arrested in a case of fraud and forgery, related to bungling in list of buses submitted by the Congress to the UP government for bringing migrant workers.

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