What Maya had disposed of, Mulayam proposes to revive

Lucknow, March 29 | Updated: Mar 30 2005, 05:30am hrs
The controversial Indira Gandhi Pratishthan project, which had been given a quiet burial by former UP chief minister Mayawati, has now been revived by the current incumbent, Mulayam Singh Yadav.

In a surprise development on Tuesday, the UP government announced the release of Rs 11.76 crore for the project. In addition, it also announced the release of another Rs 25 crore towards the cost of land to the Lucknow Development Authority.

The project is to have 100 feet statue of former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

There would also be a 1,500-seat auditorium, a committee-cum-conference hall with a capacity of 400 persons and a multi-purpose hall with a seating capacity of 600 persons.

Moreover, there will be two banquet halls, a library, an art gallery and underground parking.

Interestingly, Mayawati had originally acquired the plot to extend the Dr Ambedkar Park, on the ground that the land had been lying vacant.

This had caused Congress leaders to accuse her of insulting the memory of Mrs Gandhi.

However, Mayawati had justified taking over the land on the ground that the former Governor, Romesh Bhandari, had "changed the land use and had proposed a five star hotel on the 25-acre land initially meant for the project in the memory of the former prime minister".

At the time, Mayawati had announced that the land was lying vacant for almost two decades and the government would build Ambedkar International Library and Museum at the site to "put the land to better use". The Congress described her decision as "blatant Ambedkarisation" of the state and the relations between Mayawati and Congress soured.

Although it remains to be be seen whether the project will succeed in reviving relations between the SP and Congress, however, the alacrity with which the Samajwadi Party government have sanctioned funds for the land and construction shows that the present government is more than keen to complete the ambitious project, despite it being dedicated to the memory of the former prime minister.