Before quitting, Maya cleared crores for pet projects
Author: M. Tariq Khan
Source: Hindustan Times
M. Tariq Khan
(Lucknow, August 27, 2003
Once bitten, twice shy. The last time Mayawati demitted office as CM, work on the Ambedkar Udyan was abandoned immediately. This time around, she has done her best to make sure that none of her pet projects meet the same fate.
On the Friday before she dropped her bombshell, she sanctioned funds for all her on-going projects. Officials were asked to submit detailed project reports and the principal secretary, finance, gave his approval the same day, sources said.
Funds to agencies executing these projects were being routed through the Lucknow Development Authority. So its accounts section staff was rushed to present the bills at the Collectorate treasury on Monday to ensure that the requisite sum was credited to the department's Personal Ledger Account.
Work on the Ambedkar Rally Maidan is almost complete. But, the Ambedkar Museum-cum-Memorial Centre and the Rama Bai Ambedkar Paryatak Sthal may run into rough weather under a new dispensation. The Prerna Sthal coming up adjacent to the BSP party office on Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg could be another soft target for settling political scores.
The museum project had kicked up a political row at the outset, as it was mooted on the 25-acres of land adjacent to Udyan once earmarked for Indira Gandhi Pratishthan. Work on both these projects was taken up on a war footing, but half of the total funds allotted for them is still unused. "We have been told to adopt a go-slow approach by our bosses," admitted a Rajkiye Nirman Nigam official supervising work on the Ambedkar Centre.
Contractors hired for the job are also wary that their payments might get delayed now. "My payment for the statues I had supplied to the Udyan got stuck for over two years as the then CM Kalyan Singh had blocked all funds," said a sculptor, a favourite of Mayawati.
"The state government can alter, block or curtail expenses on a particular project anytime it wishes to do though the previous regime has released the funds," a senior finance officer said.