Memorials will earn money from tourists: Mayawati (Lead)

July 1st, 2009 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj Party Lucknow, July 1 (IANS) Seeking to justify use of nearly Rs.3,200 crore (Rs.3.2 billion) of public funds for building grandiose memorials and statues of Dalit icons, including of herself, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Wednesday said the money earned from tourists visiting the spots will be used for development.
“Since the monuments built to commemorate our ideologues would eventually come up as attractive tourist spots and would naturally make a lot of earnings through entry fee, I have decided to use all the gate money towards development of villages named after Babasaheb Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram,” Mayawati told reporters.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief has ordered nearly three dozen statues to be built and installed in different parts of the city. The statues include that of Dalit icons like Ambedkar, BSP founder Kanshi Ram and seven of the chief minister herself.

There are five memorials also in various stages of constructions in the city and nearly 60 redstone elephant statues - the BSP party symbol.

Interestingly, the chief minister has decided to do away with the entry fee for the first six months.

“While visitors will be allowed free entry in each of these memorials for the first six months, the entry fee would come into place subsequently and that money would be utilised only for development of Ambedkar ‘grams’ (villages) and Kanshi Ram grams,” she said.

The move was seen as a response to widespread criticism on misuse of public funds by Mayawati in building expensive memorials and statues in the state capital.

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