The roads were repaired, a fresh coat of paints put on footpaths and sidewalks, almost 1,25,000 flower pots kept at major intersections, illuminated wraparounds put on lamp posts along the route from the airport to the Summit venue. Virendra Singh Rawat reports.
The 'makeup' of Lucknow to host the mega Uttar Pradesh Investors Summit 2018, that concluded on Friday after witnessing the signing of Memorandums of Understanding worth almost Rs 4.30 trillion, has cost the Yogi Adityanath government over Rs 65 crore.
In run up to the Summit, different government department and agencies were pressed into service to upgrade the infrastructure in the 'City of Nawabs' to charm the visiting national and international industrialists and delegates, and showcase the alacrity of the state dispensation.
The two-day Summit, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, saw the participation of over Rs 5,000 delegates.
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani in his address on the inaugural day noted he had never seen any city decked up so strikingly as Lucknow.
Mahindra Group promoter Anand Mahindra had also tweeted positively about a cleaner and tidier Lucknow.
The Lucknow roads were repaired, a fresh coat of paints put on footpaths and sidewalks, almost 1,25,000 flower pots kept at major intersections, illuminated wraparounds put on lamp posts along the route from the airport to the Summit venue of Indira Gandhi Pratisthan.
Besides, professional artists from Delhi were hired for wall paintings and murals along the sidewalls of over-bridges.
The prominent agencies and departments deployed as nodal agencies for sprucing up the city infrastructure, included Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC), Lucknow Development Authority (LDA), Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC), Public Works Department (PWD) etc.
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was also involved in some of the total 105 such beautification projects.
According to Lucknow District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma, who was the nodal officer coordinating the works between various departments and agencies, the total cost of preparing for the Summit was a little over Rs 650 million.
As per the breakup of costs, LMC accounted for the maximum cost outlay of Rs 24.2 crore and handled five such projects, followed by LDA with over Rs 13 crore and 30 projects respectively. PWD chipped in with 33 projects and about Rs 12.5 crore.
However, the expenditure of Rs 65 crore does not include the cost incurred in the publicity and organising roadshows in six metros for the summit, including Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.
Besides, separate teams of ministers and officials had visited these cities, including Ahmedabad for meeting industrialists and studying their Summit formats.
Although, the state government has not shared any details in this regard, yet the total cost of preparing for the Summit, including publicity and transportation, is likely to come to almost Rs 100 crore.
On condition of anonymity, a retired top UP bureaucrat told Business Standard the state government expends on wide publicity for such mega events, seeking the higher participation of investors, generating hype and striving for maximum number and value of MoUs.
He said together with the budget of over Rs 65 crore, the total expenditure for such high ticket event would easily inflate between Rs 90 crore to Rs 100 crore.
IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath and Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, during the inaguration of Investors Summit 2018 in Lucknow. Photograph: Press Information Bureau of India