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Indian Festival Organizer Fined Nearly $1 Million

An earthmover is used to level the surface for traffic movement at the site of World Culture Festival organised by Indian guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art Of Living foundation on the flood plain of Yamuna River in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, March 9, 2016

India's National Green Tribunal, the country's top environment court, has fined a non-profit organization hundreds of thousands of dollars, just hours before the opening of the group's world cultural festival being staged on the banks of New Delhi's Yamuna River.

The $740,000 fine stems from concerns the sprawling construction for the festival will irreparably damage the Yamuna's floodplains.

The Art of Living Foundation, the organizer of the festival, is set to pay $37,900 immediately and the rest will be paid over the next three weeks.

A crowd of 3.5 million people is expected to attend the festival, which opens Friday.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, one of India's best-known spiritual gurus and the leader of the Art of Living, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the three-day event.