M A I N   N E W S

Maya gives back land for rail factory
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, October 18
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, reversing her government's earlier decision, today decided to hand over 189.25 hectares in Rae Bareli for the Rail Coach Factory.

A decision to this effect was taken by the state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mayawati and announced at a press conference at the CM's secretariat later in the evening.

On October 12, Mayawati had suddenly decided to cancel the allotment of land, citing farmers’ agitation. Congress president Sonia Gandhi was scheduled to do bhumi pujan on the land on October 14.

Vindicating her government's decision, the Chief Minister maintained that the railway ministry's notification appearing in all leading newspapers had made it clear that it had already acquired 940 acres in Rae Bareli by September 2008.

“It just proves my contention that the Congress-led UPA government has no intention of building the rail coach factory. It is just an election stunt. Else UPA chairman would have done the bhumi pujan on the available land rather than accusing my government for being against development for cancelling a mere 189.25 hectares.”

Challenging the UPA government to start work on the rail coach factory, Mayawati said it was using her government's decision to cancel a part of the total land as an excuse for failing to keep their promise. “I would not let their political game succeed, that is why I have decided to return the land.”

She also underlined that earlier the land had been handed over without following the proper procedure of referring the matter to the state cabinet.

Mayawati conceded that on May 8 this year she had “accepted in principle” the railway ministry’s written request to purchase 189.25 hectares on a 90-year lease.

Pointing out a procedural lapse in the earlier grant of land, Mayawati claimed that her decision to forward the matter to the state cabinet for approval had then not been followed. Interestingly, today she has also written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding a Rs 5000-crore package to revive the 18 closed factories in Rae Bareli and Sultanpur districts.

A copy of the letter has also been sent to Rae Bareli MP Sonia Gandhi, requesting her to “use her influence” to push through the special package for the twin districts.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh State Congress has termed the Mayawati government’s decision to return land to the rail factory in Rae Bareli as “the victory of the people of Amethi and Rae Bareli”.

In a press statement, UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi declared that the common people of these two districts had forced Mayawati to reconsider her anti-development decision. However, the state unit would not roll back its resolve to launch a state-wide stir against the Mayawati government from October 19 to 24, drawing attention to the BSP government’s anti-development agenda.



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