The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has decided to slash the budget of the Gomti riverfront project - the dream project of former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow - and cancel the order for two imported water buses that were to ply on Lucknow’s lifeline.
The decision has come after the government ordered an inquiry into the river channelisation project.
Adityanath, who inspected work on the riverfront last month, was upset over the manner in which funds earmarked for the project were spent more on its cosmetic makeover rather on cleaning the river.
According to sources, the Rs 2450 crore budget has now been pruned to Rs 2,100 crore by the state government. And as of now, the irrigation department has procured only one 30-seater air-conditioned bus, trials for which have already been conducted and the service that was supposed to start in January this year is yet to take off.
Also, the work on the project has come to a stop. Irrigation department sources said it would resume only after the revised estimate is approved and funds required to complete it are released by the government.
This is unlikely to happen before the three-member judicial inquiry commission set up by the government submits its probe report. The panel has been given 45 days to furnish its findings.
The Gomti riverfront, however, is not the only ambitious project of the previous Akhilesh Yadav government that has come under the scanner.
Here are other pet projects initiated by the Samajwadi Party government that have already been scrapped or maybe discontinued:
Samajwadi Pension Scheme: At least 55 lakh beneficiaries were being given a monthly pension of Rs 500, which the SP regime later increased to Rs 1,000. The pension now stands scrapped.
Cycle tracks: Soon after his return from Amsterdam in September 2014, Akhilesh decided to develop what was billed as the largest network of cycle tracks in major cities of UP. Consequently, the PWD with the help of development authorities undertook the project in Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, Noida, Ghaziabad, Allahabad, Aligarh and several other cities.
An estimated 270 kilometres of cycle track on both sides of roads was developed in these cities with the longest stretch over 55km in Lucknow. Some of these cycle tracks in cities may now be dismantled as the Yogi government feels it has narrowed the existing right of way of several roads and is leading to traffic congestion, according to sources in PWD.
Jai Prakash Narain International Convention Centre: The Rs 846 crore project too has come under the government scanner. Ministers appointed by Adityanath have carried out several inspections and claimed that while 90% of the funds have been utilised only 50% work on the project has been completed. Funds for the project would be slashed and the proposal for a seven-star hotel would also be scrapped.
Samajwadi Smartphone Scheme: After its free laptops to students scheme became a big hit, the Akhilesh Yadav government launched a free smartphone scheme in October 2016, ostensibly with an aim to bridge the digital divide. It received over 1.40 crore registration. The scheme has been scrapped.
Janeshwar Mishra Gram Yojana: Started in 2012-13, the SP regime had chosen over 5,000 villages and allocated Rs 40 lakh to each for building CC roads, drains, strengthening and improvement of other infrastructure and civic amenities through Mandi Parishad. The Adityanath government has cancelled the scheme.
Lohia Aasra and Awaas Yojana: The scheme to provide free houses to the shelter-less in rural areas was mooted on February 20, 2013, by the previous regime. The government had set a target of building at least 10,000 houses and empowered each MLA and MLC to allot at least 10 each in their respective constituencies. However, only few thousand houses were built and the housing scheme has been cancelled and may be launched under a new name after re-selection of the beneficiaries.