By Anshul Tewari:
I wanted to shout that title standing a top my four floor building when theÂ 33-acre Dalit Prerna SthalÂ or the Ambedkar Park was being inaugurated by the auspicious hands of Mayawati in Noida. Her pet project, which cost the tax payer a whopping Rs. 650 crore was started a few years ago.
A look at the features:Â The park has 24 pink sandstone elephants, the electoral symbol of BSP, 12 life-size statues of Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and the UP Chief Minister herself!Â The estimated cost of each statue is over Rs 6 crore and each elephant statue Rs 70 lakh of public money. In fact Mayawati spent Rs 2500 crores on five such major parks across UP. (source)
This park will represent the growing face of Uttar Pradesh, the development that has happened and the exquisite architecture that the craftsmen of the state are capable of. Lovely, isn’t it.
Here’s what. In 2007, 18 children died of hunger and starvation in Varanasi, U.P.Â According to the third National Family Health Survey, in Uttar Pradesh at least 47 per cent of all children up to the age of three are underweight and at least 14 per cent are “wasted”, which is worse than the 11 per cent recorded in the previous survey. According to a report in The Hindu newspaper,Â most Dalit families cannot afford pulses or vegetables. Multiple vitamin deficiency is common and many children are at risk of losing their eyesight. Dalit seem to suffer the most in the state with a Dalit Chief Minister who has a Dalit vote bank.
In the last 8 years, around 300 farmer suicides, around the same number of hunger-deaths and over 400 suicide attempts by the poor have been reported in Bundelkhand, UP. According to Tehelka,Â of 133 lakh Dalit children in the 5-14 age group, only 58.3 lakh have been attending school. Work participation rate (WPR) of the SC population is 34.7 percent, lower than that of the national average for SCs (40.4 percent). Among the total workers, 65.2 percent are main workers, again lower than what is recorded for all-India SCs (73 percent).
But the hunger for power and fame that drives Mayawati does not allow her to give these facts and figures even a single look. With audacious claims of development, this Chief Minister is on her way to glory after constructing statues of herself all across Uttar Pradesh.
I live in Uttar Pradesh, and it’s a daily sight to see the ever growing beggary in the state, to see the homelessness. Leave aside these social issues. My parents are from Lucknow-Kanpur. A few years ago I lost a very dear cousin due to the poorly constructed roads in Kanpur. A visit to my grandma’s house in Kanpur/Lucknow makes sure I get a back-ache because of the distorted-disastrousÂ roadways.
What could have happened in the staggering Rs. 2500 crore (most of which is public money)? Roads, houses, food grains, jobs! And what ever would have been left would certainly haveÂ accommodatedÂ a few parks across U.P.
But hey, Miss Mayawati is not interested in listening to us – or anyone for that matter; and then there are those (like me) who argue that the poverty stricken state like Uttar Pradesh should not be spending money on parks and luxurious statues which show how the Chief Minister is establishing her
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity. Ummm… I guess I am straying from the topic here.