Uttar Pradesh government allowed Ambedkar statue renovation

April 8th, 2008 - 8:27 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday allowed the Uttar Pradesh government to renovate and spruce up the existing statue of Dalit icon Bhimrao Ambedkar in Lucknow’s sprawling park named after him, but prevented the government from building any permanent structure there. A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice R.V. Raveendran gave partial relief to the state government after senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for it, pleaded to the court that the government was merely renovating the statue and the shade over it.

Denying that it was building any permanent structure in the 35-acre park in the city, Salve told the court that the government had undertaken the renovation work in view of the upcoming Ambedkar’s birth anniversary celebration April 14.

Salve said Ambedkar’s statue in the park existed since 1997.

Denying the government was building any permanent structure in the park, Salve contended the park was never a green belt and the government never changed land use of the park to construct any permanent structure there.

But the court did not delve into the controversial change of the category of the land and granted partial relief to the state government.

The state government moved the Supreme Court in an appeal against the April 4 order of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court that stopped the government from carrying out any construction in the park.

The high court stopped the construction on a public interest lawsuit that alleged that the state government was building Kanshi Ram Research Institute, named after the late Dalit leader who founded the state’s ruling Bahujan Samaj Party, in the park.

As per the petition, the government was also building a memorial for Rama Bai, the late first wife of B.R. Ambedkar who is also known as the father of the Indian constitution.

The petitioner alleged the government started the construction work in the Ambedkar Park after changing the land use category for 35 acres of the land in the park near the Lucknow airport.

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