Friday, May 11, 2012

UP govt replaces names of Ambedkar and dalit leaders in welfare scheme

LUCKNOW: In a major decision that may lead to controversy, the Samajwadi Partygovernment in Uttar Pradesh on Friday scrapped around 30 schemes and projects, named after the dalit icons, introduced during the previous Mayawati's regime.

Significantly, the decision was taken at a time when the Parliament was witnessing uproar over the objectionable cartoon of BR Ambedkar in NCERT books.
While the village development scheme named after dalit icon BR Ambedkar has been replaced with the development scheme for the villages named after socialist Ram Manohar Lohiya, the Manyawar Kanshiram zoological garden located in Gorakhpur district has been renamed as Ashfaqullah Khan zoological garden. Kanshiram was BSP founder and dalit leader, whereas Ashfaqullah Khan is the legendary revolutionary freedom fighter who made supreme sacrifice for the country.

The state government also scrapped the quota of 23% for scheduled castes and tribes in allotment of government contracts upto Rs 25 lakh on grounds that it was a hindrance in competitive bidding and quality of work was suffering. The quota was introduced by Mayawati in 2009 in a bid to retain her dalit base after poor show in Lok Sabha polls. The state government also decided to drop the name of Dr BR Ambedkar from the "Dr Ambedkar Gram Sabha Vikas Vibhag".
These decisions are taken in the meeting of the cabinet haired by chief minister Akhilesh. It was also decided that to revive Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya Samagra Gram Vikas Yojya and scrapped Dr Ambedkar Gram Sabha Vikash Yojna. The Samajwadi Party leaders, however, insisted that the village development scheme in the name of Lohiya has been revived. It was was introduced in 1990 during Mulayam Singh Yadav rule but was scrapped by the Mayawati government in 2007.

Regarding renaming of the zoological garden in Gorakhpur, the government in its press release stated that the decision was only a small tribute to the supreme sacrifice made by the revolutionary Ashfaqullah Khan. With regard to dropping the name of Ambedkar from the village development department and schemes, the release stated that the work done under the said schemes have been included in the scheme named after Lohiya. There was no need to have two schemes for a job.

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