By Kamna Mathur
Lucknow, March 6 : Mayawati-led Uttar Pradesh government looks all set to built a la Taj Mahal in the State capital, as this is the only feeling that comes to one's mind after looking at the magnificent Ambedkar Memorial being built here at a whopping cost of seven billon rupees.
The extravagancy on the Ambedkar Memorial appears a mockery of people living in funds-deprived Bundelkhand and Poorvanchal regions of the State.
It is well-known fact that the Uttar Pradesh government is seeking rupees 800 billion (80,000 crore) from the Centre for development works in the State. Over 2,700 workers are working day-night to complete the work in the stipulated time, as the memorial park is to be opened for public on April 14 by the Chief Minister herself. Two fountains worth rupees 30 million (three crore rupees) have been installed along with nearly 3,000 elephants for a grand look. People will then remember that Ms. Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party's symbol happens to be the elephant.
The estimated cost of 64 elephants sculpted in sandstone is around rupees 38.44 crores. These are to be installed on the main gate of the memorial. Three hundred and fifty Rajasthan artisans have been brought to Uttar Pradesh for the project.
According to social activist Shailendra Singh, the initiative is more of a political tantrum since the Government has been vying asking the Centre for funds to start developmental projects and on the other hand, millions have been spent for a 'dream project'.
"The present Government is saying that it's running short of funds and asking for doles from the Central Government. They claim of not having the money for the development of Poorvanchal and Bundelkhand while they have literally drowned rupees 830 millions in water. And, now you are investing rupees five billion for which they do not have any justification," said Shailendra Singh in Lucknow.
"There would be approximately 3,000 elephants including both big and small. Its importance could only be known once it was prepared," said Gangaram, one of the artisans.