After taking much flak from the media and the public, there was some good news for the Mayawati government on Wednesday. The Supreme Court has allowed the state government to raze a jail complex spread over 195 acre adjacent to Ambedkar Park in Lucknow paving way for construction of an ecological park on the land.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, vacated the May 14 order of the Allahabad High Court that stayed the demolition of structures and felling of trees in the jail premises.
Acting on a PIL filed by advocate S.L. Pandey, the high court had restrained the state government from carrying out demolition or construction activities in the jail premises. The HC had asked the state government to come out with a plan of the proposed construction. The petitioner had expressed apprehension that the jail was being demolished to extend Ambedkar Park and install more statues of Kanshiram and Mayawati.
The Supreme Court allowed the Mayawati Government to go ahead with its plan for construction of an ecological park after senior counsel K.K. Venugopal told the court on behalf of the state that the jail inmates would be shifted to a new jail, which had already come up on the outskirts of the state capital.
“Will this park have statues too?” asked the bench. BSP General Secretary and senior advocate S.C. Mishra assured the court that the ecological park coming up in place of the jail will not have statues or memorials.
He said the new jail coming up on the outskirts of Lucknow will be much more spacious than the old one. He added that a total of 4,660 prisoners could be housed in the new jail, while the old one could only accommodate about 2,000 inmates.