Mayawati returns Rae Bareli project land (Lead)

October 18th, 2008 - 9:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiLucknow, Oct 18 (IANS) In a 180-degree turn within a week, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Saturday restored 189 hectares of state-owned land in Rae Bareli, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s constituency, for building India’s third rail coach factory.”The cancellation had to be done simply because the allotment had been made without the statutory approval of the cabinet,” Mayawati told a press conference.

“However, the issue was taken up by the state cabinet today and we have formally conceded the central government’s proposal to give the land at the market rate on a 90-year lease.”

She had cancelled that land allotment last Saturday, though Gandhi was to visit the site in Lalganj and attend a ground-breaking ceremony for the project Tuesday.

She said the Congress’ criticism of her earlier move was misplaced.

“Let me tell you that the Indian Railways had already acquired some 940 acres of private land for the project directly from the land owners and it was under their possession as well.

“I, therefore, fail to understand why the Congress leadership was busy blaming us for their failure to perform bhumi pujan at the site. After all, if they wanted to, they could have easily carried out the bhumi pujan on that land,” she argued.

Accusing the Congress and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government it leads of “playing petty politics” in the name of the factory, Mayawati said: “no sooner it was brought to my knowledge that the allotment was made without a formal approval of the cabinet, I appointed my principal secretary Net Ram to carry out a detailed inquiry in three days and it was on the basis of his report that was submitted today that the cabinet took this decision.”

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