Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mayawati re-allots railway land

Mayawati, WHO is known for taking U-turns, did the same again as her government decided to return the land in Rae Bareli for construction of a rail coach factory on Saturday, an issue on which she had a high-pitched spat with Congress President Sonia Gandhi during the week.

"The Cabinet has decided to give 189.25 hectares of land, which was with the state government, to the Centre for the Rail Coach Factory. This was done, so that they don’t blame us later and the dirty political game Congress is playing over this land gets buried in this land in Rae Bareli," she told a press conference on Saturday.

Last Saturday, the state government had cancelled the allotment of the land for the coach factory for which Gandhi and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad had planned to go to Rae Bareli on Tuesday and lay the foundation stone.

While the function was cancelled, Gandhi went to Lalganj, where the factory is to be located in her parliamentary constituency Rae Bareli, and charged the Mayawati government with putting hurdles in the way of development programmes.

She made the visit defying prohibitory orders and declared she was ready to go to jail for the sake of development. The next day, Mayawati hit back at Gandhi saying she created a drama of going to jail without any reason and accused the Congress of placing roadblocks in development.

This came with a demand of Rs 5000 crores from the Central government for reviving the "decaying" industrial units in Rae Bareli and Sultanpur districts. It is important as Congress president Sonia Gandhi represents Rae Bareli in the Lok Sabha while her son Rahul is the Congress MP from Amethi, which is part of Sultanpur district. "After carrying out a detailed survey, we found a long list of industrial units which have shut shop or were decaying in these two districts represented in the Lok Sabha by these two top Congress leaders," Mayawati told media persons here on Saturday evening.

"I have, therefore, made a formal request to the Central government to clear a special package for revival of these units and a copy of the letter has also been sent to UPA (United Progressive Alliance) chairperson Sonia Gandhi," she said.

To a query on why she was hopeful of a favourable decision when the Central government had been sitting over her demand for Rs 800 billion package for the development of the backward regions, she said: "Well, now it is a question of the constituencies of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi."

According to a state government survey, 11 of the 20 industrial units mostly set up during different Congress regimes were lying abandoned in Rae Bareli, while seven of the 19 units are shut in Sultanpur.

Claiming the UP government’s decision was a result of pressure from the people of the state, the Congress accused Mayawati of wasting central funds on building her statues and parks.

"The revocation of the earlier order took place due to public pressure. The matter is in court and we would have won from there also," Congress spokesman Mohan Prakash told reporters here. He termed it "the victory of truth".

On Mayawati’s demand for a package of Rs 5000 crore for reviving sick industries in Rae Bareli and Amethi, Lok Sabha constituencies of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, Prakash said the money which the Centre gives to the state is wasted on building statues and parks.

"First, the money which the Centre has given to UP should be accounted for. She is spending money on erecting her statues and building parks rather than development," Prakash alleged.

The Congress’s media department chief M Veerappa Moily, said the Congress-led Central government did not want a confrontation with the UP government.

"We do not want confrontation but a healthy Centre - state relation," he said.

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