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Art of Living fest creates new controversy

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Bangalore, Feb 24 (UNI) Though the din raised by the three-day festivities of the 'Art of Living' Foundation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the Jakkur air field here last week had subsided, the dust kicked up by it is causing havoc.

The shrubs and grass at the air field, used by some private aircraft charters such as Deccan Aviation and microlite aircraft flyers, had been completely dug up for the mega event, which attracted thousands of Art of Living members from across the world.

Deccan Aviation chief Capt G R Gopinath, talking to reporters at the air field today, was highly critical of the manner in which the air field had been dug up using excavators and said he would take up the issue with the State Government.

''I have no complaint about the function organised by Art of Living'' but the manner in which the air field had been spoiled would affect the users for several days, he said. The shrubs and grasslands on either side of the runway were acting as a soil binding agent. However, with its removal, strong winds have kicked up dust, affecting not only the operations of Deccan aviation, but also the functioning of the workshops.

Mr Gopinath said the aeroengines have been opened up and a fine layer of dust had settled down inside the hangars, eventhough they were closed.

The highway adjoining the air field, leading to Hyderabad, wore a hazy look and at times visibility was reduced to vehicle drivers following strong winds.

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