Uttar Pradesh Urban Development Minister and chairman of the State Haj Committee, Mohammad Azam Khan, has slammed the State’s Finance Department for creating hurdles in the construction of a ‘Haj House’ in Ghaziabad.

Angered at the riders placed by the Finance Department, Mr. Khan, in a strongly-worded letter to Chief Secretary Javed Usmani, dated November 26, a copy of which is with The Hindu , said the U.P. Haj Committee did not want to build the Haj House any more. The Minister told Mr. Usmani that he was free to put it to better use.

Incidentally, the Finance portfolio is held by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Taking exception to the observations made by the Finance Department, Mr. Khan said that from the official notes in files it seemed that the Haj Committee was a “gang of thieves and crooks,” and that “thieves and crooks have no right to work towards communal amity with the government’s help.”

Mr. Khan, often dubbed as the Samajwadi Party’s ‘Muslim face’, said the Aala Hazrat Haj House in Ghaziabad had been lying incomplete for the past ten years when the Haj House here, whose foundation stone was laid at the same time (in 2003 when Mulayam Singh was the Chief Minister) was functional

The Haj Committee, Mr. Khan said, was unable to complete the construction of the Ghaziabad Haj House with its own resources. “Since the last two years, the Finance Department has been needlessly creating problems and if a person with a clean image like me can face this situation the state of the other departments can be well imagined,” he wrote. Describing the halt in construction work and the observations and comments as “unnecessary,” he said development “of people” would not be possible if the Finance Dept. kept creating hurdles.