In the last financial year, the three industrial development authorities of western Uttar Pradesh — Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna expressway — had together approved a budget of Rs 20,000 crore for the development of the region.
In contrast, the Lucknow development authority’s annual budget (2013-14) was just Rs2, 000 crore. No wonder, leaders, bureaucrats, engineers and other officials lobby hard to manage a job in Noida — considered a gold mine in the state’s power circles. Addressing an election rally in Noida in 2012, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had said: “Two rival parties — Samajwadi party and Bahujan Samaj party — ruling the state for over a decade treated Noida as a juice machine that produces money.”
Many agree with Gandhi as they very well understand that if one wants to make easy money, Noida is the place to be.
“Noida is way above many other cities in budget allocation. This is the reason all leaders want to get involved in Noida,” said a UP government official.
Leaders and officials treat Noida as a gold mine because out of the state’s seven industrial authorities, the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (Noida) — with a Rs10,000-crore annual budget — is the richest in Uttar Pradesh. “As the government changes in Lucknow, private contractors are also changed. Now, nearly 60 per cent private contractors belong to Etha, Mainpuri and Kannauj district — all SP strongholds. Before the I-T raids on Yadav Singh, hundreds of aspiring contractors from the Yadav stronghold would throng the Noida and Greater Noida authorities for government projects,” said official.
Noida officials said there is always a huge amount of revenue surplus as they are unable to spend the entire amount on development or on maintaining civic amenities each year.
“The Noida authority had deposited Rs3,500 crore as fixed deposits in various banks because of surplus funds. And now Akhilesh Yadav has demanded Rs500 crore for eastern UP cities as the government thinks Noida is better developed,” said a senior Noida authority official.
“Lease rent and interest from builders are the biggest contributors to Noida’s revenue. Besides, the authority gets huge revenue out of water and property transfer charges,” said official.
Boasting about its economic prosperity, an official said: “We have so much surplus funds with us that we can run the city even if we do not take any taxes from our allottees for next 5 years in a row,” said another official.