world culture festival
world culture festivalIANS

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has given the Art of Living (AOL) Foundation time till Friday to pay a fine of Rs five crore for allegedly damaging the Yamuna banks. The green watchdog reportedly said if the foundation fails to pay the fine, the "law will take its course".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be inaugrating the event Friday, the Hindustan Times reported.  

Earlier on Thursday, NDTV broadcast a video with the founder of the Art of Living Foundation spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar where he said he would not pay the fine. 

"We have not done anything wrong...we will go to jail but not pay a penny," Ravi Shankar said.

The NGT also gave the foundation time will Friday to get police and fire department permissions, ANI reported.

A Bharatiya Janata Party MP, who is a supported of Ravi Shankar, was quoted as saying by ANI Thursday: "Why will we pay a fine when we have not done anything wrong? We will approach the Supreme Court. We have not done anything criminal, what's there to be nervous?" 

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) informed the NGT Thursday that the AOL Foundation was yet to pay the fine. 

The green court Wednesday slapped a fine of Rs five crore on the AOL Foundation, Rs five lakh on the DDA and Rs one lakh on the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) before giving permission for the event. 

Ravi Shankar's refusal stems from the argument that a three-member team can't gauge the damage done to the Yamuna in half an hour's time. He maintained throughout the hearing that the Yamuna floodplain was not damaged due to the preparations for the event scheduled between March 11 and March 13.

Ravi Shankar also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be attending the event and President Pranab Mukherjee, who wouldn't be able to attend, has sent a letter to wish them. Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Thursday reportedly pulled out from attending the event, citing security concerns, the Hindustan Times reported. 

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Thursday refused to entertain a plea by some farmers to put a stay the event, Bloomberg India reported.

[1 lakh = 100,000 | 1 crore = 10 million | 100 crore = 1 billion]