Mayawati allocates Rs.500 crore more for parks, memorials

2010-08-10 22:30:00

Unfazed by criticism against 'overspending' on parks and statues,
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati once again allocated nearly Rs.
500 crores towards her dream projects in the Rs.5,461 crore
supplementary budget tabled before the state assembly Tuesday.

While the larger chunk of the allocation (Rs.409 crore) was meant for
the sprawling 190-acre Kanshi Ram Eco Park coming up on the site of
the shifted Lucknow district jail, some funds were also earmarked for
three other projects underway to commemorate the contribution of the
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder and Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, the
party's tallest icon.

On the contrary, the budget has an allocation of barely Rs.3.5 crore
for development of Amethi as a district, the political bastion of the
Congress represented by Rahul Gandhi.

Mayawati's declaration to upgrade Amethi and name it Chattrapati
Shahuji Maharaj district had come as a jolt for the Congress

Prior to Rahul, the Amethi parliamentary constituency was represented
by his father Rajiv Gandhi and still earlier by his uncle Sanjay

However, while tabling the budget, state Finance Minister Lalji Verma
did not focus at all on Amethi. In fact, apart from construction of a
few residential quarters for officials and a small building for the
treasury, only token allocations of Rs.1,000 were made against several
other heads including infrastructure.

Significantly, Rs.23.82 crore was earmarked as overhead charges to be
paid to the government agency engaged in the construction of the
Kanshiram memorial (Manyavar Shri Kanshiramji Samarak Sthal) while
Rs.48.22 crore was allocated for the Ambedkar memorial (Dr.Bhimrao
Amedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal).

Out of the latter sum, Rs.8.46 crore is for giving a facelift to the
exteriors of the Ambedkar memorial.

Mayawati, while justifying the allocation of more than Rs.6,000 crore
towards these memorials in successive budgets, had earlier asserted
that whatever she had spent each year towards commemoration of these
icons was not more than one percent of the state's annual budget.

In a statement issued here Tuesday evening, the state government
clarified that budget allocation towards the monuments was in no way
in 'violation of the Supreme Court order, suspending all construction
activity at the Ambedkar memorial'.

'The budget has been earmarked only for giving a facelift to the
exterior of the monument and not for carrying out any work inside the
premises,' an official spokesman claimed.

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