Uttar Pradesh government withdraws land for rail coach factory (Lead)

October 12th, 2008 - 6:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiLucknow, Oct 12 (IANS) In a major development ahead of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s visit to her constituency of Rae Bareli, the Uttar Pradesh government has reportedly withdrawn the land it sanctioned for a rail coach factory.Gandhi, along with Railways Minister Lalu Prasad, had jointly laid the foundation stone of the factory last February. She is scheduled to perform a “Bhoomi Poojan” at the site on Tuesday.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) state government has withdrawn 400 acres land it had given, an official said. The factory was slated to come up on 1,200 acres.

“We are surprised by the government’s decision and want to know the reason behind it,” state Congress spokesperson, Akhilesh Pratap Singh, told IANS on phone.

The district administration of Rae Bareli claims that the railways had not been successful in procuring the rest of the land (of the 1,200 acres required) as yet.

Santosh Kumar, district magistrate of Rae Bareli, said: “Besides the 400 acres of land given by the state government, the railways till date has not been successful in getting the remaining land (over 800 acres). There is visible unrest amongst the local farmers who have even threatened to commit suicide if their land is not returned.”

He claimed that since the railways had failed to acquire the remaining land, the locals fear the factory is a far fetched dream.

According to sources, the local administration received the government order cancelling the allotment Sunday morning.

The government is yet to make the announcement public. Sources in Chief Minister Mayawati’s office said the decision was taken late Saturday.

“It (the decision) will be formally released to the media today (Sunday) evening,” said the source.

Though the Congress has officially announced only Sonia Gandhi’s visit, party sources say Railways Minister Lalu Prasad and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi could accompany her.

Besides performing the Bhoomi Poojan, Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to address a public meeting in the Lalganj locality of the district.

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