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Living persons’ statues can also be installed: UP govt

Last Updated: Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 14:40

New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh government,
which had made budgetary allocation of crores of rupees for
installation of statues of Chief Minister Mayawati and her
mentor Kanshi Ram in the state, has said it is a wrong notion
that only statues of dead persons can be installed.

The state government expressed dismay over the manner
in which the hype is being created over installation of
statues of Mayawati and quoted examples of superstar Amitabh
Bachchan and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee whose
statues have been erected.

"It is a wrong notion that only statues of dead
persons can be installed. There is no dearth of examples
whether in the country or abroad about statues of living
persons. In the Indian context, one can easily refer to AB
Vajpayee Institute of Technology and Management, Gwalior and
Amitabh Bachchan Institute at Saifai, Etawah," the state
government said in an affidavit.

"Abroad we have wax statues of film stars, cricketers
and other living personalities finding place in Madame
Tussauds museum," the state said.

The Uttar Pradesh government was responding to the
petition accusing it of misusing public funds for the
installation of statues of Mayawati, Kanshi Ram, other Dalit
leaders and that of elephants-- BSP`s election symbol--at
parks in Lucknow and Noida, adjoining Delhi.

The affidavit said Mayawati`s statues were installed
only to fulfil the wishes of Kanshi Ram, who willed that
wherever his statues were installed, the statues of Mayawati,
"his only heir, must also be installed."

The state government provided details of budgetary
allocation for carrying out work at parks in Lucknow and Noida
stating that Rs 294 crore and Rs 203 crore have been allocated
for the two projects.

"Money has been sanctioned by the state government
through budgetary allocations approved by the Assembly and
every expenditure was authorised by the state legislature," it

"The cultural department made provisions of Rs 194.2
crore in the financial year 2008-09 and Rs 100 crore in the
year 2009-10," it said in its 51-page affidavit.

The state government said it was a wrong notion that
the `stupa` being built with other statues will cost Rs 500

"The cost of stupa is about Rs 203 crore and not Rs
500 crore as stated in newspaper reports," the state
government said.

The PIL filed by advocates Ravi Kant and Sukumar has
alleged that state government was misusing the exchequer to
glorify Mayawati by installing her statues. They said statues
of living persons should not be installed.

While referring to the apex court judgement, the
affidavit said, "The judiciary must exercise self-restraint
and eschew the temptation to encroach into the domain of the
legislature or the administrative or statutory authorities."

Earlier, the apex court had on July 10 cleared the
decks for the Uttar Pradesh government to carry out work for
installation of statues of Mayawati and other dalit leaders
at a park in Noida.

It had refused to interfere in the matter in which the
approval has been granted by the state Cabinet.

"If it has been approved by the government, this court
cannot interfere," a Bench headed by Chief Justice KG
Balakrishnan had said, when an application seeking to maintain
the status quo on the works was mentioned before it.

"If the Cabinet has approved it, then we can`t do
anything," the Bench had said.

The Uttar Pradesh government had proposed to install
statues of several BSP leaders including that of Mayawati and
party founder Kanshi Ram in the gigantic 4-km long walled area
along the bank of river Yamuna in Noida.

The PIL had sought a direction to restrain Mayawati
from installing her statues and those of elephants at public
places with public fund and demanded a CBI probe into the
misuse of state funds.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 14:40

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