I had great hope from Mayawati when she returned this time to form the government in UP, my home state now, with clear majority. I rather developed a respect for her political strategies and social engineering that won her the election. I thought she would be concentrating on UP development instead of wasting time and resources in political gimmickry or on whimsical personal agenda.
I was afraid that she would suspend the power plant of Anil Ambani, because of his political affiliation with Mulayam and party. But very soon Mayawati cleared all hurdles for the project to go ahead. It was a great surprise but gave me a lot of pleasure. If the project gets going, it will bring a hope of better UP on power front, more so for Noida. My hope got strengthened, when Mayawati also announced use of energy saving CFL lights in all government buildings in the state. And in quick succession came the agricultural policy with contract farming. I thought some good advisers are around her.
Like Bihar, UP had been unfortunate to miss the bus of development for some decades now because of poor political leadership with misplaced priorities. UP had been sliding down on the development and overall growth- in infrastructure, agriculture, as well as in industry.
I have mentally prepared a wish list with some important projects for UP that can change the state’s economy and image too:
Airport: The civil aviation ministry has finally approved the setting up of a new international airport at Jewar, near Noida. It can come up by 2010. And the state government must push for it. It will certainly add to the prosperity of the area.
Taj Express: I got excited when Mayawati in her earlier term as Chief Minister came up with this ambitious 150 km-long Taj Corridor expressway from Greater Noida to Agra. I was really morose when Mulayam government put the project in cold bag through legal hurdles along with the flyovers of Noida. I have not heard very lately about the progress, but I am sure the project will get expedited. And perhaps I can drive on that expressway in my lifetime itself. I get my confidence from the announcement of another ambitious road project that will take me to my village home much faster and open the avenues for prosperity of the region through which it will pass.
Ganga Expressway: Mayawati announced a 1,000-km modern eight-lane access-controlled Ganga Expressway from Noida to Ballia, on the left bank of the Ganga at a cost about Rs 40,000 crore. Mayawati promises, ‘While normally such projects take five to seven years to be completed, the UP government intends to finish it in three years.’ Can this expressway be developed on the line of Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project? Though there are not many in central government to back it, Mayawati with her clout can certainly do that, if so wishes.
Noida-Greater Noida- Ghaziabad Education Hub: Mayawati must make Noida-Greater Noida- Ghaziabad grow as the largest education hub of the country. The region already has a large number of private medical and engineering colleges, as well as management schools I wish the institutes come well on the quality of education that it impart to the students. And with a little support on infrastructure from the government, the region can become the world-class hub of knowledge sector too with enterprises of IT, ITeS, and high end BPO such as LBO and R&D.
To add to the above list, I have some more ambitious project in my suggestion box: Ghaziabad has all the potential to become a hub for heavy engineering industries. Lucknow-Kanpur- Allahabad can grow positively as knowledge as well as manufacturing hub with a large number of world-class professional institutes (IITs and IIMs) and laboratories already present. Mirzapur- Varanasi-Chunar can be developed as a hub for handicrafts such as pottery, carpets, silk textiles, and stone sculptures.
However, one gets hurt when media reports keep on detailing Mayawati’s ‘acquisition’ spree and demolition drives:
“Plans are on to take over all of the plush Mall Avenue in Lucknow’s VIP area. The UP chief minister already has a huge fortress-like house here, courtesy her earlier reign (all ex-CMs in UP are entitled to homes). But now she’s ordered the building of another “ex-CM’s bungalow” on a 1,00,000 sq ft plot nearby. A sum of Rs 10 crore has been earmarked for it. Her party trust has purchased a 55,000 sq ft plot across the road and two more bungalows-allotted to ministers who will be shifted elsewhere-are also going into her kitty. The only property in the area that isn’t hers yet belongs to an industrialist-and reports say he’s been made an offer he can’t refuse. If things go to plan, Mall Avenue will soon become Maya Avenue. (Meanwhile, renovations at her official bungalow, 4, Kalidas Marg, which Mulayam Singh Yadav had “dirtied”, is complete. Cost: a mere Rs 4 crore!)”-(From Outlook).
And then comes another news: “Mayawati plans to raze a nursery school that falls in the security zone around CM’s residence. The CM’s grandiose plans for erecting gigantic statues of Dalit leaders saw government bulldozers chipping away at Lucknow’s Ambedkar Stadium until a high court bench slammed the brakes on the demolition. On the same excuse of her security, officials plan to take the hammer to Lucknow’s oldest Municipal Nursery School, established on 122 Mahatma Gandhi Marg on May 14, 1951.” (From Times of India)
I wish the reports are just media meddling.
People will have no objection if she comes with a plan to build special schools and hostels so that 100% children from the underprivileged classes can get good education. But at least I find no prudence in building huge memorials of Kansiram and Ambedakar in all the district headquarters. Let Mayawati realize that it would be just waste of money that could and must be used for the benefits of the people. Let her use all that money in building houses for the needy people. I shall have no complaint or objection. I wish God gave Mayawati moral strength and maturity to amend her way so that posterity remembers her for good reason. But we have noticed her mercurial character when she withdrew the agricultural policy declared by her only few days ago under pressure of traders and middlemen and without serious consideration on the advantages. All that makes me feel bad. But I still hope she will soon be different and put her government on development as the top priority.