Another Congress-Maya land row in Rae Bareli? | india | Hindustan Times
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Another Congress-Maya land row in Rae Bareli?

The centre and the UP Govt could be heading for another showdown and this time too, it’s over a project in Rae Bareli. Chetan Chauhan reports.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2008 01:19 IST
Chetan Chauhan

The centre and the Uttar Pradesh government could be heading for another showdown and this time too, it’s over a project in Rae Bareli — Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s constituency. The state government has failed to provide land for an automobile testing centre even a year after the Centre made a request for it.

Last month, the state government had cancelled the allotment of land for a rail coach factory in Rae Bareli, only to revoke its decision after a war of words between the Congress-led Union government and Chief Minister Mayawati.

A year after the Ministry of Heavy Industries made a request for land for the automobile centre, the state has still not acquired land for it. During the period, six other states have made land available for similar projects.

According to government officials, the ministry even deposited a token amount with the state government.

“There has been no forward movement in the land acquisition process… even after a couple of meetings,” a senior government official, who didn’t wish to be identified, said.

When contacted, the Chief Minister’s Office said the project had not been cancelled, but couldn’t give reasons for the delay in acquiring land.

The Centre had asked the UP government in the middle of last year to acquire land for

the Rs 86-crore tractor and off-road vehicles testing centre as well as an accident data analysis centre at Rai Bareli.

“Union government officials even identified sites for the two projects. The state government is yet to take concrete action to implement them,” UP Congress Committee spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh said.

The state government refunded the money deposited by the ministry, without saying if the land would be acquired.

“The future of the projects hangs in the balance in the absence of any concrete reply from the state government,” a ministry official told the Planning Commission last week.

Work on automobile testing centres in Manesar (Haryana), Chennai, Pune, Indore, Ahmednagar (Gujarat) and Silchar (Assam) has already started, the official said. These projects are worth Rs 1,718 crore.

If the centre comes up at Rae Bareli, it would be the first such facility in the state.