Raising of a dedicated special security force to guard Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's dream projects -- memorials and statues -- will cost the state exchequer a whopping sum of Rs 53 crores, besides a recurring annual drain of Rs 10 crores on the state exchequer.
A onetime allocation of Rs 53 crores has been sought for the new outfit, together with an annual recurring budget of Rs 10 crores.
Besides the statues and new memorials that were coming up in the name of various icons of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party, the force would also guard the new sprawling pink-sandstone bungalow erected for Mayawati for her post-chief ministerial days.
The Rs 42 crore worth mansion was built by the state government on a giant 100,000 sq ft plot in Lucknow's most posh Mall Avenue, after pulling down a minister's bungalow and the office of the state sugarcane commission. The minister's bungalow was allotted to Mayawati after her first stint as chief minister in the mid-nineties, in keeping with UP's tradition of allotting a 'suitable' residences to all the former chief ministers for their lifetime.
More than half-a-dozen ex-chief ministers were living in different bungalows in the state capital in Lucknow. However, none of these have any special protection force to guard them. Security personnel are deployed in accordance with the individual entitlement of each of the former chief ministers.
The new force would be designated to guard the Ambedkar Memorials at both Lucknow and Noida, besides the Luckow-based Kanshi Ram Memorial , Kanshi Ram Sanskritik Sthal, Rama Bai Ambedkar Maidan, Buddha Vihar and Kanshi Ram Green Eco Garden, that was coming up on the sprawling 120 acre plot of land vacated after the shifting of the Lucknow district jail to the city outskirts. The state government was spending nearly Rs 6000 crores on these projects.
Even as there was no debate on the bill so far, leaders of opposition parties were very critical of the chief minister on the issue.
"I fail to understand why she needs to raise a special force to guard her statues and memorials," asked Samajwadi Party leader Ambika Chaudhary, while talking to mediapersons.
Congress Legislature Party chief Pramod Tiwari remarked, "This reflects Mayawati's guilt of spending thousands of crores only to satisfy her whims and ego." He wondered, "Why the existing police force could not be deployed for protecting these buildings to avoid any wasteful expenditure?"