Sri Sri’s event: CPI (M) corners Centre for using army for private function

New Delhi : Amid uproar over the World Culture Festival being organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation on the Yamuna floodplains, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday hit out at the Centre for deploying the army for the construction of pontoon bridges for a private event.

“Our country has democracy, and we are not opposed to any such event. We are asking the government if there was clearance by environment authorities. They roped in the amry to make two pontoon bridges. When the people asked for a bridge there then you said that it wasn’t possible, and now two have been constructed,” Yechury told ANI.

“What is their explanation to induct the army for a private function. The questions are not being raised on the event, it is on the government. They should clarify, but they are quiet on this,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has raised serious security concerns over the Art of Living event on the Yamuna floodplains.

The National Green Tribunal will continue to hear today the plea seeking to stop construction of temporary structure on the flood plains of Yamuna for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living World Culture Festival in Delhi.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swantanter Kumar yesterday asked Ministry of Environment and Forest to file an affidavit today and tell why no environmental clearance is needed for raising temporary structures.

The direction came after counsel appearing for the Ministry said that they have found no debris at the site, when an expert team had visited.

Counsel added that as per Environment Impact Assessment notification 2006, no environment clearance is needed for temporary structures.

In yesterday’s hearing the Green Panel also questioned the building up of pontoon bridge by the Army on river Yamuna for the festival.

The World Culture Festival organised by Art of Living is scheduled to be held from March 11 to 13 on the banks of the Yamuna.

Earlier, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar defended the event, saying not a single tree has been cut and the ecological stability has been maintained during the preparations. (ANI)