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Rs 500 crore more for Mayawati’s parks
Lucknow, AUG 11 (IANS):
Published on 11 Aug. 2010 11:59 PM IST
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Unfazed by criticism against "overspending" on parks and statues, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati once again allocated nearly ` 500 crore towards her dream projects in the ` 5,461 crore supplementary budget tabled before the state assembly on Tuesday.
While the larger chunk of the allocation (Rs 409 crore) was meant for the sprawling 190-acre Kanshiram 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 ` 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 leadership.
Prior to Rahul, the Amethi parliamentary constituency was represented by his father Rajiv Gandhi and still earlier by his uncle Sanjay Gandhi.
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 ` 1,000 were made against several other heads including infrastructure.
Significantly, ` 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 ` 48.22 crore was allocated for the Ambedkar memorial (Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal).
Out of the latter sum, ` 8.46 crore is for giving a facelift to the exteriors of the Ambedkar memorial.
Mayawati, while justifying the allocation of more than ` 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 on 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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