A day after the State Election Commission suspended programmes to dole out unemployment allowance and the Kanya Vidya Dhan, the State Cabinet on Thursday decided to declare six major cities - Lucknow, Kanpur, Meerut, Varanasi, Allahabad and Agra as the metropolitan towns.
It also decided to treat the cooperative loans as revenues thereby empowering the State Government to suspend their recovery in drought or flood hit areas.
The Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav presided over the meeting of the State Cabinet that took a decision in this regard today. Other cities granted status of metropolitan towns include Meerut, Varanasi, Allahabad and Kanpur. A decision to grant metropolitan town status to Lucknow and Kanpur though had been taken in 1995 as well.
The State Cabinet however decided to include the two cities in the metropolitan list yet again to ensure follow up action that include setting up of Metropolitan Planning Committees for integrated and cohesive planning to check undue migration from rural areas to cities.
The Cabinet's decision will pave the way for Governor's notification. Under the provision of Article 243 (P) of the Constitution the Governor through a notification could declare towns with more than one million population as metropolitan cities.
The State Cabinet also gave its nod to the proposal to increase accumulation limit of earned leaves of the Nagar Nigam employees. As per the decision the Nagar Nigam employees would be allowed to accumulate 300 earned leaves against existing limit of 180 earned leaves during the entire service period.
No official announcement about granting status of metropolitan town to six major cities or increasing the leave accumulation limit of the Nagar Nigam employees was made.
Much significance however is being attached to the decision as it comes in the midst of ongoing elections to urban local bodies. Will the SEC treat the decision as a violation of model code of conduct? This is the million-dollar question being asked in the corridors of power here.
The State Cabinet's decision to treat the cooperative loans as the revenue dues would empower the State Government to suspend their recovery. This would come as a great relief to the farmers who have failed to pay the cooperative loans in the drought hit districts.
The State Cabinet also gave its go ahead to the Rs 680 crore funding to the development of Buddhist circuit. The Japanese bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) would provide the funds to the project.