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Despite Court order, work goes on at UP memorials

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THE SHOW GOES ON: Construction work going on at the Kanshi Ram Sanskritik Sthal in Lucknow on Thursday despite the assurance given to the Supreme Court by the Uttar Pradesh Government.
THE SHOW GOES ON: Construction work going on at the Kanshi Ram Sanskritik Sthal in Lucknow on Thursday despite the assurance given to the Supreme Court by the Uttar Pradesh Government.

Atiq Khan

LUCKNOW: Work is continuing on memorials for Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and Bahujan Samaj Party founder Kanshi Ram here, even two days after the Supreme Court directed the Uttar Pradesh Government to suspend it.

A Bench consisting of Justice B. N. Agarwal and Justice Aftab Alam took a dim view of thousands of crores of taxpayers’ money being spent on building monuments and statues in memory of the ruling BSP’s icons. State Government senior counsel Satish Chandra Mishra had given a solemn assurance to the Court that construction work would remain suspended.

The Hindu team, which visited the sites in Lucknow on Thursday, found that the grinding work and chiselling of stones brought from Mirzapur was on in full swing.

While some workers were engaged in the job along the boundary of Ambedkar Udyan in Gomtinagar near the Baba Saheb Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal, others were giving finishing touches to the memorial’s outer boundary wall. At the Kanshi Ram Smarak (memorial) on Jail Road the labourers were finishing work on a domed structure near the main entrance. A few kilometres away on Bijnor Road is situated the Kanshi Ram Sanskritik Sthal or Maidan (cultural centre). Here, huge stone slabs — to be used for constructing a building in the cultural centre — were being lifted by the labourers.

Policemen have been deployed at all the sites but because of the vast expanse of the memorials and parks the ongoing work is visible from outside.

Workers at the sites have been asked to keep away from the media and an attempt to solicit their view was met with a strict “No”.

Drawn mostly from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar, they have been continuing their work at the memorials and parks, including the Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan, though many of them may not even be aware of the Court directives.

However, the State Government has denied flouting of the Court order.

In a statement here, a spokesperson of the U.P. Rajkiya Nirman Nigam Limited said the government was committed to implementing the order. No construction was being undertaken. No work was being done on monuments which were the subject of writ petitions pending before the Allahabad High Court, the spokesperson claimed.

The release said confusion had been created by a section of the electronic and print media reporting that construction work had not stopped despite the Court directive. It said the allegation was not true. Only some maintenance work was being undertaken, the spokesman said.

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