A National Park or National Disaster?

Our politicians have done it again. The honorable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh unveiled the Controversial Rashtriya Dalit Smarak in Noida amid much fan-fare. The park built on sprawling 33 hectares of land with more than 2 dozen statues of respected B.R Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and last but not the least MS. Mayawati Cost the exchequer a whooping 685 crores.

At a time when the state is gripped by the clutches of encephalitis, the question that every citizen of this great country is bound to ask is, whether it was necessary to spend such a whooping amount of public money on parks and statues. The government after coming under heavy fire from the opposition finally allocated a mere 18 crores for a 100 bed ward to deal with encephalitis related cases. Can you believe it? 685 crores for a park and a mere 18 crores for ending a epidemic!

According to a recent media report more than 500 children had lost their lives because of this disease and the numbers are bound to swell, if corrective actions aren’t taken at the earliest. According to the World Bank report, Eastern and Southern UP in India are identified as the most poor in the country. So much destitution! The casual labor is still abundant and prone to deprivation, even foraging and begging.

Can’t we do something for them with this huge amount of money? If not schools and colleges, we can at least provide them with basic amenities. Though the state’s economy is growing at a steady rate, but what kind of development would it result in if the poor and less fortunate people are left out? U.P has a rich and colorful history. It has produced some of the greatest leaders, it also sends the highest number of parliamentarians. So, the question is why is it lagging back than the other states?

Just give it a thought, the answer is quite obvious. One more important thing that has come into the general public’s notice is the environmental violations that took place while building the park. An initial enquiry ordered by the environmental ministry after public outcry found several environmental violations. The memorial is also extends near the Okhala bird sanctuary which further complicates the issue. Though the project was given a clear chit by the Supreme Court with many riders is now completed, the damage has been done.

The country honors Dalit leaders as much as they do leaders of other communities for their good work. But Let us not
forget the poor and downtrodden people and do some good for them.

What a citizen asks for is Education, healthcare and employment. It would have been great tribute to the honorable
Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram if projects on health care and education were started under their names. I believe if they had been alive, they would have also supported my point.

Let us not forget on what foundation our country is built.

Sethuraman K.S.