By Afroz Alam Sahil, Twocircles.net
Prime Minister Narendra Modi caused a massive controversy during his election rally in Fatehpur Sikri, saying that if there is money allocated for graveyards, there should be money allocated for crematoriums too. This, according to Modi, was an attempt to ‘expose’ the discriminatory politics of the current UP government.
While many people from UP and outside termed his speech as an attempt to spark communal fires and criticised it severely on social media, his defendants jumped on the bandwagon and said that Modi was only pointing out the truth. But beyond claims, what are the facts?
It is clear that if one were to look at the state budgetary allocations, Modi’s claims fall flat on the ground. As per documents available with Twocircles.net, it is clear that while Akhilesh Yadav’s government has spent a sizeable amount on graveyards, it has at no point done so at the cost of crematoriums. In fact, both of them have been paid adequate attention by the SP government.
In 2015/16, an amount of Rs 200 crore was earmarked for graveyards in UP. On the other hand, the state’s rural development ministry allocated Rs 100 crore for crematoriums, while the Urban development ministry allocated Rs 100 crore for the same in urban areas.
Similarly, in 2016/17, state’s rural development ministry allocated Rs 127 crore for development of crematoriums, the Urban development ministry allocated Rs 100 crore for the same. It must also be pointed out that the state government had also allocated Rs 400 crore for the maintenance and upkeep of graveyards (including the cost of building boundary walls) during the same period.