Government keeps off Mayawati’s Noida park project


New Delhi : Perhaps wary of alienating Dalit voters, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government has refrained from interfering in the development of a Noida park that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati plans to turn into a statue gallery of Dalit leaders.

Support TwoCircles

The ministry of environment and forests has told the Supreme Court that development of the sprawling 33 hectare park does not need to be assessed for its impact on the environment as the built up area was less than 20,000 square metres or 50 hectares.

The ministry, however, told the court that it would consider subjecting the project to the Environmental Impact Assessment, but only if the court asks it to do so.

The ministry, however, has remained silent on the issue of felling of over 6,000 trees in the park to make space for huge statues on gigantic platforms.

The ministry has also chosen to remain silent on the issue of the park’s proximity to the Okhla bird sanctuary, saying that as per 2006 guidelines, the ministry of environment and forests has no jurisdiction to examine it.

The ministry has filed its affidavit in response to an apex court notice to it on a plea by the court-appointed Central Empowered Committee to halt Noida park transformation into a Dalit leaders’ statute gallery including of Maywati and her mentor Kanshi Ram.

Earlier on Oct 9, a bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justice Aftab Alam had halted all construction and masonry work in the Noida park till Oct 26, while seeking response from the government on the court-appointed panel’s opposition to development of park.

The bench had imposed the ban exactly a month after another bench of former Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice Alam had Sep 8, stopped all construction activities at nearly two dozen memorial sites of various Dalit leaders in Lucknow.

In fact, for violation of the court’s Sep 8 order, the state chief secretary has been issued contempt notice, summoning him to the court Nov 4 and seeking his explanation as to why he should not be punished for “prima facie flagrant violation of the court’s orders”.

In case of Noida park, the apex court bench, however, had allowed the state government to continue with the greenery works like planting of trees etc.