Mulayam does a Mayawati with his dream projects
By Subhash Mishra - NEW DELHI
Published: 01st Jul 2012 11:23:56 AM
Mayawati is history, but the Samajwadi Party wants to make some of its own with the dream projects of party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has directed the authorities to draw plans, earmark land and mobilise funds to execute his father’s dream projects, including a Jayaprakash Narayan International Convention Centre, a park in the name of socialist icon Karpoori Thakur, and a 500-acre Janeshwar Mishra Park. All these parks are to be developed in Lucknow, and on a priority basis.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) government has also revived its Lion Safari project in Etawah, the birthplace of the Yadav clan of the ruling party; the chief minister has gone a step further with a Night Safari plan in Noida.
The SP has been in power for just three months and has announced half-a-dozen dream projects on the lines of the former chief minister Mayawati. The Bahujan Samaj Party leader displayed a near obsession with her dream projects, pursuing them single-mindedly for the sense of pride they would give her core constituency of Dalits, but these symbols of empowerment became her nemesis in the last Assembly elections. The Opposition alleges that Mayawati spent more than `40,000 crore of public money on her dream projects. At times, the Mayawati government ignored even court directions on freezing work in parks and monuments. Mayawati had ordered installation of at least a dozen of her own statues, from Lucknow to Noida, unveiling them herself and drawing criticism from almost all around, except from Dalits.
And there lies the rub. The SP government is ordering inquiries into the alleged financial irregularities in dream projects of the BSP government while pursuing its own dream projects. In fact, the SP had started construction of its dream projects in its last government headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav between 2003 and 2007. A sprawling park in the name of party ideologue Ram Manohar Lohia came up then. This time around, a 500-acre park in the name of SP leader Janeshwar Mishra , who died two years back, is to come up in Gomati Nagar. If Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is to be believed, the Janeshwar Mishra Park would be better than London’s Hyde Park and New York’s Central Park. Similarly, an international convention centre in the name of socialist revolutionary Jayaprakash Narayan is to come up. The convention centre would be world class and have convention centre, seminar hall, a guesthouse with five-star facilities and a library. Apart from this, a cricket stadium of international standard will come up soon on the Lucknow-Sultanpur road.
In a way, the dream projects of the Samajwadi Party government are not far behind the BSP regime in terms of expenditure, though the state government has not sanctioned any funds so far for the new projects. The only difference may be that the SP dream projects may not have statues of Mulayam and his son but of socialist leaders like Jayaprakash Narayan and R M Lohia.
Vice-Chairman of the Lucknow Development Authority Rajneesh Dubey told The Sunday Standard that it would not be appropriate to call the new projects as dream projects, “because the chief minister’s interests are not confined to a new park or convention centre, but he is equally concerned that the LDA should provide houses to the middle and lower class of the city. He has asked the LDA to create a land bank and start housing schemes as soon as possible.”
A lion safari is being finalised in the native district of Mulayam Singh Yadav and the forest department of the state is focusing on this dream project. The work on the safari in Etawah had been started in previous government of Mulayam Singh Yadav, but by the time it could be completed, elections were held and the BSP came to power which shelved this safari. Work has resumed with a sanction of `5 crore. The chief minister has also directed the state authorities to develop a swanky Night Safari on the pattern of one in Singapore. A meeting for this project has already been held with officials from Singapore. This project, to be developed on the PPP model, would be unique, says Industrial and Infrastructural Development commissioner Anil Kumar Gupta.