CHIEF MINISTER Mulayam Singh Yadav’s ‘dream baby’, Ram Manohar Lohia Park outshines its neighbouring political landmark Ambedkar Memorial, a pet project of former Chief Minister and BSP chief Mayawati, both literally as well as financially.
While the latter, said to be a symbol of Dalit empowerment, carries an expenditure tag of around Rs 100 crore, its socialist counterpart (Lohia park) is said to have cost the LDA a cool Rs 125 crore already. Ironically, both the projects were initially supposed to be given shape on what now looks like a modest budget. The construction of Ambedkar Memorial nee Udyan was mooted in 1995 at a cost of Rs 10 crore. The final tab: over Rs 100 crore. Likewise, Lohia Park, too, in its initial stage was supposed to be a Rs 16-crore green fantasy.
Two latest trappings acquired by the 80-acre Lohia Park have become the cynosure of visitors’ eyes. They are a pair of huge, shiny green gen-sets that have recently been installed in the park to ensure that the CM’s ‘baby’ is never short of power supply. At Rs 20 lakh each, these twin mini power houses (each with a capacity to generate 320 KV of electricity) have been brought in from Ahmedabad and can together guzzle Rs 4,200 worth (around 120 litres) of diesel in an hour.
“Unlike the generator set that had been installed inside a room in Ambedkar Memorial, these gen-sets were eco-friendly and noise-free. That is why they had been kept in the open,” informed in-charge of LDA’s electrical wing AP Singh.
The Memorial has only one 200 KV generator. The moot question is who is going to foot the bill to sustain these white elephants as neither Lohia Park nor Ambedkar Memorial get enough revenue from the sale of tickets to pay for their upkeep.