Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati has inaugurated Rs 685 crore magnum opus Bhim Rao Ambedkar Park. After opening the park, Mayawati said that the money spent on Dalit icons memorial is not a waste of public funds.
Pointing finger at memorials in the name of members of Nehru-Gandhi family, she said there is no memorial of BSP founder Kanshi Ram in Delhi, Noida Park honours him.
The 33 hectare project in Noida's sector has 15 statues of Dalit icons Dr BR Ambedkar, Jyotirao Phule and Kanshi Ram. Bronze statues of Mayawati have also been erected in Noida. Twenty statues of elephants and fountains with bronze elephants have also been installed in the park.
The UP chief minister, known for her fondness for statues, also has a special police force to protect parks and memorials for Dalit icons. Latest LED tubes, that cost around Rs 4crore, have been installed in the park, to make the structures look more attractive at night.
“The lighting solutions have been provided by foreign firm Philips Gardco. More than 3,000 LED tubes have been installed in the park. Each tube costs Rs 12,000,” said a senior project manager.
In December 2010, vacating its year-long stay, the Supreme Court (SC) had approved resuming construction in the Park, rejecting the Centre's objection that part of its site was on forest land.
The court said construction could start only after the government planted sufficient number of trees on 50% of the Park area to create a buffer zone between the site and adjacent Okhla bird sanctuary.
In addition, the apex court also observed that the area under concrete structures should be brought down from 35% of the project site to 25% because of the Park's proximity to an eco-sensitive zone in the sanctuary.
Meanwhile, everything in the Ambedkar Park exists for a reason. “The boundary stone was specially ordered from Mirzapur, a Naxal-affected district, by Behenji to provide employment to tribals,” said a senior civil engineer, requesting anonymity.
The main structure, christened Dalit Prerna Sthal, houses statues of Dr BR Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and Mayawati.