LUCKNOW: BJP and Congress MLAs today created an uproar in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly demanding a debate on CAG reports about last year's Mahakumbh Mela and construction of memorials during the previous BSP regime.
Raising the matter through separate adjournment notices, BJP and Congress said the reports, which were tabled in the House on Tuesday, have highlighted gross mismanagement and irregularities and a debate should be held on them immediately.
Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey disallowed any debate saying that the reports will first go to the Public Accounts Committee and the House will debate it only on receiving the committee's report. Leader of Opposition and BSP leader Swami Prasad Maurya agreed to it.
However, the BJP members did not relent and Satish Mahana stressed for a debate.
On this, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and senior leader of the ruling SP Azam Khan lashed out at BJP, accusing it of trying to confuse the people in a matter of faith.
Khan said by doing so, BJP will earn the ire of sadhus and accused the party of becoming "non-religious".
Khan's comment enraged the BJP MLAs who came to the well of the House, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the proceedings for a total of 40 minutes in phases.
When the House resumed, Anugrah Narain Singh of Congress demanded a debate on the issue. On being disallowed on the same grounds, Congress MLAs came to the well of the House, carrying banners demanding constitution of a joint committee of the state legislature over the matter.
During the protest, Swami Prasad Maurya said the members were not adhering to the directions of the Chair. To this, Pradip Mathur of Congress alleged both BSP and SP were thinking of each others interests and were not in favour of a debate on a serious matter.
As Congress MLAs continued with their protest in the well of the House, the Speaker adjourned the House for another five minutes. On resumption of the proceedings, he completed the agenda of presenting Budgets amid the din.
In its report on memorial construction, CAG has said that the cost of building four memorials conceptualised and ordered by BSP supremo Mayawati during her chief ministership between 2007 and 2012 went up by around 1,000 per cent in five years.
The reports mentioned that while the original sanctioned outlay of the four memorials -- Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal, Manyawar Shri Kanshiram ji Smarak Sthal, Buddha Vihar Shanti Upvan and Eco Park in Lucknow and Manyavar Shri Kaanshiram ji Green Garden in Noida -- was Rs 943.73 crore, it was revised to Rs 4,558.01 crore by 2012, the end of her tenure. This led to a cost escalation of 986 per cent, it said.
This was done by the Uttar Pradesh Nagar Nigam which comes under the Public Works Department, the executing agency for the construction of the memorials, it said.
Some other findings of the report point out that the expenditure finance committee did not examine the necessity and expediency aspects of the projects and that the selection of consultants for consultancy and architectural services was not made through competitive bidding.
In its report on Mahakumbh Mela, the CAG has criticised UP government for financial mismanagement, absence of co-ordination between different departments and lack of planning in traffic management during the last year's Mahakumbh Mela in Allahabad.
The CAG also made an adverse comment on the planning for managing the huge traffic in the Mela on the main bathing day on 'Mauni Amawasya' on February 10. Several lives were lost in a stampede at the Allahabad railway station on that day.