Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati hailed the Delhi Metro’s maiden journey into Noida in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday as a step that will bring the suburb at par with the developed cities of the world.

Flagging off the first metro train from Noida, Ms. Mayawati said it will not just make commuting easier, but also go a long way in improving the economic and employment avenues in the suburb.

The Chief Minister also chose the occasion to reiterate her demand for clearance of the proposed international airport at Jewar in Greater Noida. “I have already written to the Union government several times and I urge them to sanction the Jewar airport soon to develop this area speedily,” she said.

Ms. Mayawati made an oblique reference to her government’s assistance in timely completion of the Noida line: “After coming to power, we gave special instructions to the Noida Development Authority to release the required amount of money to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation [DMRC]. I appreciate that the Noida Development Authority paid about Rs.557 crore, more than two-third amount of the total cost to the DMRC for completion of this project.”

The Bahujan Samaj Party supremo said her government was keen to extend the metro rail service to the rest of the State, starting with more parts in Noida and Greater Noida. During the last two and a half years of her government’s tenure, she said, the focus has been on development of the district and the State at large.

“Noida will have the best infrastructure to make it one of the best cities of the world. My government has been providing Rs.2,000 crore every year for the development of infrastructure facilities to ensure that Noida is counted among the best cities.”

Steering clear of the controversy over the construction of the Ambedkar Park in Noida, Ms. Mayawati said: “Keeping the feelings of the people belonging to Uttar Pradesh….and to commemorate the contribution of saints, gurus and great men who waged battle to usher in change in the existing social system which is based on inequality and caste, Noida Authority is constructing a historical place in Noida. These great men, saints and gurus had been ignored by the previous governments,” she said, adding that her government had resolved to follow the policy of “ sarvajan hitay, sarvajan sukhay” and metro railway was a step in that direction.

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