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Additional Rs 550 crore for statues, parks
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, August 5
Disregarding public criticism and legal censure CM Mayawati has managed another Rs 550 crores for her pet memorials, statues and parks in the first supplementary demands for grants for the current financial year.

Of the total supplementary demands of grants of Rs 7559.52 crores passed in the Vidhan Sabha last night, around Rs 550 crores has been given to the housing department for the construction, beautification and upkeep of memorials in the name of dalit icons in Lucknow.

For those who believed that the June 25 sudden ceremonial inauguration of 15 projects, including several memorials, parks and her statues, Maya may have finally accomplished her dream were sadly mistaken. Work is still in progress at most of the already inaugurated memorials, including the grandest Ambedkar Memorial. The inauguration was merely eyewash to preempt a likely Supreme Court stay order.

As the work continues so does the need for more money.

Replying to the debate on the state government’s supplementary demands, Minister for Finance Lalji Verma maintained that only a sum of Rs 254 crores has been demanded for installation of statues and development of parks. However, reading the fine print of the budget proposal belies the minister’s claim.

The massive Kanshiram Memorial coming up on Jail Road adjacent to the historical pre-independence jail has been given two additional grants of Rs 19.81 crore and Rs 35.73 crore. Since assuming power in 2007 the Mayawati government has already sanctioned Rs 370 crore for this memorial.

The country’s biggest dome is coming up here at Kanshi Ram Memorial as the BSP founder’s protégé wants to dwarf even the Gol Gumbaz of Bijapur, Karnataka, which till now had the distinction of having the largest dome in the country.

The new dome, now getting finishing touches, has a diameter of 39.84 metres, while that of the Gol Gumbaz is 37.80 metres. This dome alone is reported to have cost Rs 50 crore.

The Eco Park proposed to be constructed after the demolition of the pre-independence jail spread over 195 acres of land adjacent to the Kanshi Ram Memorial has been granted Rs 199.90 crores.

Incidentally, this project had run into trouble when on a PIL the Allahabad High Court had stayed the demolition of the historic jail as the petitioners had apprehended that hundreds of trees were cut and the jail being demolished only to extend the area of the adjacent Kanshi Ram Memorial to install still more statues.

The Supreme Court on July 8 had vacated the stay by allowing the demolition of the jail and construction of an ecological park there, as claimed by the state government. The court has put a rider that the new park should not have any statues of Chief Minister Mayawati or her political mentor

Another Rs 57.80 core has been granted for the development and beautification Kanshi Ram Smriti Upvan.

The Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan, the new rally grounds created by the present BSP regime, gets Rs 56.30 crores. To develop this huge maidan and parking lot for the party’s massive rallies an amount of Rs 65 crores have already been spent so far.

Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajid Parivartan Stall in Gomti Nagar Lucknow was BSP chief Mayawati’s first dream project that was initiated during her maiden tenure in 1995.

Since then it has grown in direct proportion to its mentor’s ambition. For its preservation the supplementary budget has granted Rs 57.67 crores.

Another Rs 26.75 crores has been asked for the installation of statues here and the bronze plating of murals in at Kanshi Ram Memorial at Jail Road.

The Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajid Parivartan Sthal, by far the grandest project, has already used up Rs 3000 crores by conservative estimates in the development of the park and the various memorials and statues inside its sprawling complex and the landscaping of the area.

While so much is being spent on these memorials when 58 of the 71 district of the state have already been declared drought hit a mere Rs 350 crores have been demanded for expenditure from the National Calamities Emergency Fund to meet the crisis. A mere Rs 100 crores is for the integrated development of the entire city of Lucknow having close to 50-lakh population.



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