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Mayawati allocates more for memorials , less for disaster

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
August 03, 2009 20:10 IST
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The Uttar Pradesh government made its priorities loud and clear on Monday when it chose to allocate much more money for memorials and statues as compared to the state's urgent need to deal wit the prevailing drought across the state.

As if the 5000- crore allocated over the years towards Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati's dream projects–memorials and statues–were not enough , she has raised a fresh demand for Rs. 556 crores in the Rs. 7559 crore supplementary budget tabled before the state assembly in Lucknow, on Monday. This comes in sharp contrast to the demand of a paltry Rs. 250 crores for the prevailing drought that had nearly engulfed the entire state.

Ironically, the state has been after the centre for release of a special economic package to deal with the drought - hit districts covering almost the entire state .  No wonder , the government was at the receiving end on the floor of the house on Monday, when leaders of all opposition parties lambasted the Mayawati administration for its "obvious indifference and apathy towards the drought." They were also critical of the chief minister's craving for new aircraft in her fleet for which a special provision of Rs. 10 crore  had been made to purchase a helicopter.

Prominent among those who flayed the government in general and the chief minister in particular were leader of the opposition, Shivpal Yadav, Congress legislature party leader Pramod Tiwari and Bhartiya Janata Party leader in the assembly Om Prakash Singh.

They were unanimous in condemning Mayawati for allocating much more money for memorials and statues as compared to the prevailing drought . Some of them even staged a walk-outr as a mark of protest against the "blatant extravagance." Interestingly, a fund-starved UP government was ready to allocate crores towards ensuring luxuries and comforts for her partymen who had recently been given minister level positions as heads of various public undertakings.

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
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