Uttar Pradesh: CM and PM in a hurry to inaugurate incomplete projects as assembly polls draw nearer

Looks like BJP is running against time before Model Code of Conduct comes into force in UP. PM is laying foundation stones and inaugurating many development projects, including many incomplete ones

Laying the foundation stone for Jewar Airport (Representative Photo)
Laying the foundation stone for Jewar Airport (Representative Photo)

K Santosh

On December 11, while launching the 9,800 crore Saryu Canal National Project at a programme in Balrampur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a jibe at Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and said that after leaving Delhi in the morning, he was waiting to see if someone would come up and claim that they had already inaugurated this project. He said, “Maybe in his childhood, he also cut the ribbon of this scheme.”

The PM could have got a few rounds of applause for his speech, but in the nine districts through which the Saryu canal is passing, more than 29 lakh farmers are in a fix over the half-finished canal.

Before the Model Code of Conduct comes into force with the formal announcement of elections in Uttar Pradesh, foundation stones of various projects are being laid and new projects are being inaugurated at breakneck pace. But the fact is, many of the projects being inaugurated are incomplete.

The Saryu canal scheme was started in the year 1978. It was inaugurated after 43 years with much fanfare but the 6,623 km long canal passing through Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur, Gonda, Siddharthnagar, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Gorakhpur and Maharajganj in eastern UP is still incomplete. Where there is water in the canal, the fields are flooded. At many places the canal exists only on paper. Still, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath claims that “52 per cent of the work on the canal was done in 39 years, while the rest of the work was done in just four and a half years”.

In Gonda district, the work of excavation of the canal project from Parsa Godri to Dhanai Patti Rajbahwa started in the year 2003. The delay in the 22 km long canal to be built with Rs. 78 crore increased the cost. As a result, the gap between Parsa Godri-Dhanai Patti could not be completed, although on paper the canal had been completed in 2005 itself. Fake payment of Rs. 55 lakh was also made in the papers. When the matter came to light in 2017, a case was filed against four people including the then Executive Engineer of the Irrigation Department. But the matter soon went into cold storage.

Not only this, land was taken from the farmers of Parsa Godri, Dhani Dhankhar, Salpur without notice. Angry farmers are still protesting. At the same time, water did not reach the fields of 10,000 farmers who had given up their land for the project. Farmers of Parsa Godri are demanding compensation at the new circle rate.

Gonda's Samajwadi Party leader Zeba Rizwan says that the release of water into the unfinished Saryu canal has cut embankment at several places and submerged crops. Even posting two Chief Engineers at Gonda and Ayodhya did not help.

Sitaram Prasad, former head of Parsa Lagda village of Bhanpur tehsil in Basti district, says that the land of many farmers was acquired but compensation was not given.

Children are seen playing cricket in an incomplete stretch of the canal in Gorakhpur, the district of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. It will take more than two months to reach the last point of water in the Campirganj area here. The canals have been built on both sides of the Basti-Mehndawal-Campierganj-Tamkuhi (BMCT) road, but the bridge has not yet been constructed on this route.

The length of Baikunthpur-Rajwaha stretch is about 60 kms. Till now the canal work in this area has not been completed. Irrigation Department's executive engineer Santosh Kumar said, “Culverts have been made on the connectivity roads. The work of building a bridge on BMCT road has been delayed due to Covid.”

At the same time, SP leader Vinay Shankar Tiwari said that water is coming in the canal in Dakshinachal for many years now. But the farmers' crops were submerged due to untimely release of water. Congress's state vice president Vishwavijay Singh says that in 1978, the then Chief Minister Ram Naresh Yadav had started the project but the subsequent non-Congress governments in UP consistently ignored it. The inauguration is a joke, he said.

The story of the inauguration of half-finished work is not only about the canal. On December 7, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the urea plant of Hindustan Urvarak Rasayan Limited, built at a cost of Rs 8,600 crore in Gorakhpur, on trial run. On the day of launch 500 metric tonnes of urea was produced in the trial run. Now a team of 60 engineers will check the machines. Then regular production will start. The plant will produce 2,200 metric tonnes of ammonia and 3850 metric tonnes of neem coated urea per day.

The plant with an annual capacity of 12.7 lakh metric tonnes will require 400 regular employees. But so far only 150 have been appointed.

Machines did not arrive from Germany & USA

Modi also inaugurated the Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) at Gorakhpur on 7 December. But the machines have not yet arrived from Germany and America for making the labs functional. After the launch, it was claimed that tests from genome sequencing to investigation of dengue, chikungunya, encephalitis etc will be done here. RMRC's media in-charge Dr Ashok Kumar Pandey says that the important Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) machine for the lab is yet to come from Germany.

New variants of the virus are detected with this machine. Apart from this, there is a cytokine machine which detects the body's resistance.

Medical college is also incomplete

On October 26, Modi had inaugurated nine medical colleges in Siddharthnagar built at a cost of Rs 2,329 crore in the state. Medical colleges in more or less all districts including Siddharthnagar, Fatehpur, Jaunpur need government attention. Around 20 per cent work in the Amar Shaheed Jodha Singh Atayya Thakur Dariyanv Singh Medical College in Fatehpur built at a cost of Rs. 212 crore is still incomplete.

BJP MLA from Bindki, Fatehpur, Karan Singh Patel makes a strange argument. He says that “once the inauguration has been done, treatment of patients will also start soon”.

Jaunpur Lok Sabha MP Shyam Singh Yadav says that the inauguration of an incomplete medical college is a fraud with the citizens. The district hospital in Siddharthnagar was renamed as Madhav Prasad Tripathi Medical College after some rejig. The medical college is being run with inadequate arrangements.

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