Forgotten leader, forgotten projects | india | Hindustan Times
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Forgotten leader, forgotten projects

THE STATE government announced its decision to celebrate the birth centenary year of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in 2004. Rs 16 crore were pumped into this Lal Bahadur Shastri Smriti Yojna. However, two years later, the project is not even close to completion.

india Updated: Oct 02, 2006 00:55 IST

THE STATE government announced its decision to celebrate the birth centenary year of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in 2004. Rs 16 crore were pumped into this Lal Bahadur Shastri Smriti Yojna. However, two years later, the project is not even close to completion. 

Nodal agency for the project, the Culture Department had chalked out several policies and programmes for the purpose. These included acquiring of Shastri’s ancestral house and adjoining areas in Ramnagar and Varanasi for developing Ramnagar as a town, development of Ramnagar ghat and reconstruction of the approach road leading to Shastri’s house.

The plan was to acquire the former Prime Minister’s ancestral house and make a state-of-the-art memorial. Nothing has come of it except the acquiring of the house. The officials of the Culture Department are clueless about the project.
An official at the Department said, “Several meeting have taken place in this regard and several proposals have been discussed but no decision has been taken. Even Shastriji’s family members have approached us in this regard.”

This project was announced two years back and was supposed to be completed by October 2, 2005 but because of carelessness and lack of interest, nothing has been done. Further, Muzaffar Ali was entrusted the task of making a documentary film on Shastri with an estimated cost of Rs 5 lakh.

Today, Rs 25 lakh will be required for the purpose. Muzaffar Ali, on his part, says, “The film is ready to be released. I am expecting its release by the first or the second week of October.” However, when Mohan Swaroop, Secretary, Culture Department was contacted he refused to comment on the entire project.

Also, a statue of Lal Bahadur Shastri was erected at the Annexe a few months back but it is yet to be unveiled. The statue was supposed to be unveiled on May 9, 2006 by the Chief Minister but the programme was cancelled at the last moment.

The invitation for this programme had already reached Shastri’s family member who had also agreed to attend the programme. The Chief Minister is scheduled to unveil the statue on October 3.

Moreover, as part of the project, Rs 2 crore were allotted for various cultural programmes to be organised across the state. Over the two years, no special cultural events have taken place in the state in memory of Lal Bahadur Shastri!