Maya’s dream project - 62 sandstone elephants for Rs.380 mn

February 25th, 2008 - 4:53 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

Lucknow, Feb 25 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Chief minister Mayawati’s dream project, the Rs.5 billion Ambedkar park and memorial, will have as many as 62 statues of elephants - her Bahujan Samaj Party’s election symbol - at a cost of more than Rs.380 million. Sculptors from Rajasthan are already on the job, chiselling elephants in sandstone, each of which will cost Rs.6.2 million.

This detail came to light following an intervention by activist Shailendra Singh, who had filed a query before the State Information Commission under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

“Rs.38 crores (Rs.380 million) has been earmarked for the elephants to be placed on a high platform at a prominent spot in the Ambedkar memorial,” an official involved in the project told to IANS on condition of anonymity.

He added, “While two majestic elephants would be placed at the main entry gate, 30 elephants will flank each side of the pathway leading from the gate to the main structure.”

According to Shailendra Singh, the chief minister’s plan was to have the elephants to be sculptured in bronze. But it was decided to go for sandstone as the deadline of March 15 for the completion of the project was coming closer.

“It would not have been possible to make so many elephants in bronze within the available time,” said an official of the construction agency carrying out the task.

The new memorial is being built on the partial debris of the old Ambedkar Park that was launched by Mayawati herself at a cost of Rs.1.5 billion during her second stint as chief minister in the late 1990s.

With an additional allocation of Rs.3.50 billion this time, the entire scheme was now slated to be a Rs.5 billion affair.

It was in addition to another Rs.2.70 billion memorial named after Mayawati’s mentor and BSP founder Kanshi Ram.

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