The Art of Living (AOL) Foundation Monday told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that it is important to come to a “definite conclusion” on the state of the site prior to the World Culture Festival held last year, before it can be blamed for damaging it. In a statement after the hearing, the AOL said the NGT-appointed expert committee had “committed a fundamental error”. It referred to the report dated November 28, 2016, and said the expert committee “admitted in the report that it did not know the condition of the site before the event”.
AOL’s counsel, Nikhil Sakhardande, said if the committee was not aware of the condition of the site before the event it was “admittedly not in a position to assess impact of the WCF”.
The AOL submitted, “The committee has given inconsistent statements while describing the state and factual position of the event site before the culture festival was held. Whilst on the one hand, in its report dated 28 July, 2016, the committee in one paragraph (page 2 of the report dated 28 July, 2016) has described the state of the floodplain before the event, on the other hand in its report dated November 28, 2016, it states that it is not possible to assess the ecological status of the riparian eco-system at the site before the event.”
Further, the counsel said the July, 2016 report was based on a “single satellite image”, which was “during peak monsoon season, to show the wetlands existed on the event site… The report is based on no evidence at all and therefore, ought to be discarded”. The case will be heard next on June 1.