Apex court permission eases Mayawati’s dream project

May 9th, 2008 - 7:34 pm ICT by admin  

Lucknow, May 9 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday permitting demolition of the multi-crore Gomti Nagar sports complex here has paved the way for Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati’s dream project - the Rs.1,200 crore Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal. For expanding the Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal (Ambedkar Social Change Centre) across 123-acres, the government has already started demolishing the 28-acre old Ambedkar sthal in Gomti Nagar comprising a museum, a library and an administrative building, after the apex court permission April 21.

The state government has called in a team from Tamil Nadu that has begun dynamiting the decade-old structure.

Mayawati had inaugurated the old Ambedkar sthal 1997 built originally at a cost of around Rs.80 crore.

The government claims the upcoming Ambedkar sthal will facilitate research and study on personalities, especially dalits, who spearheaded different social movements in the country.

The project came under judicial scrutiny when Gomti Nagar residents’ welfare association - Gomti Nagar Jan Kalyan Mahasamiti (GNJKM) - moved the High Court alleging that the government has illegally changed the land use of the site for expanding the Ambedkar sthal.

GNJKM also alleged that the green belt was encroached upon for expanding the Ambedkar sthal.

On a petition filed by GNJKM, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court stayed work at the sthal April 4. The stay was challenged by the state government in the Supreme Court - which refused April 8 to lift the High Court stay but allowed the state government to carry out temporary construction at the sthal in view of the Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations.

Later April 21, providing relief to Mayawati, the Apex Court stayed the High Court order and permitted the state government to demolish the old structure at the Ambedkar sthal and build a new one in its place.

Construction work for the upcoming Sthal is in full swing.

“Fountains worth Rs.3 crore have already been set up. Moreover, an elephant court with over 60 sandstone elephants, each costing around Rs.60 lakh, will also come up here,” said a Lucknow Development Authority official, preferring anonymity.

The official said around Rs.60 crore have been spent on the dismantling of the old Ambedkar sthal alone.

At present, the Gomti Nagar sports complex, spread across 50 acres, houses sports infrastructure worth Rs.20 crore including six tennis courts, two badminton courts, a swimming pools and a gymnasium.

Earlier in July 2007, in order to expand the Ambedkar sthal, the government had reportedly directed the Uttar Pradesh Sports Directorate to get the Gomti Nagar sports complex vacated.

However, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court had then stayed the evacuation of the sports complex and directed restoration of the sporting facilities.

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