In yet another move that is being seen as having been undertaken to appease the minority community, the Akhilesh Yadav government has allotted nearly 2.5 acre nazul (government) land situated close to a heritage site protected by an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to Shia cleric Dr Kalbe Sadiq for setting up a private girls’ degree college.
Sadiq, also the vice-president of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, runs Unity College on a land, which reportedly was allotted by then chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1990.
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While Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) vice-chairman feigned ignorance about any such order, Sadiq claimed that the land has been officially allotted to his organisation — Tauhidul Muslimeen Trust.
“It must have been done sometime ago, but I am not aware of it. It is a nazul land owned by LDA. It’s present status is not known to me,” LDA vice-chairman Satyendra Kumar Singh said.
However, Sadiq claimed that that there was no doubt that the land has been allotted to his organisation. “I have officially received the information today (Monday). LDA will be getting it in next few days. There is no doubt about it. I have been allotted the land and all hurdles have been cleared and all formalities in this regard are completed,” he claimed.
Sadiq said he has planned to open a girls’ degree college on the land, but it is yet to be decided whether it will be for minority students. “The land is nearly 2.5 acres. It is sufficient for even setting up an university. We will set up the degree college for girls. The foundation stone for the college building will be laid by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav,” he said.
The land is situated close to the historical Roomi Gate, an ASI protected monument, and India’s highest Clock Tower in Hussainabad locality of old city in Lucknow. Sadiq had requested for its allotment in 2003 during the BSP regime.
However, then BSP government led by Mayawati had turned down his request and instead given nod for constructing ‘Awadh Haat’ on pattern of Delhi Haat to promote culture and artisans in order to attract tourists. Railings were also erected around the land. But, the project was dropped later.
Contacted, ASI Superintendent N K Pathak said that it is the prerogative of the state government to allot land to anyone. “We come into picture only when construction begins on the land. We go by our rules ? no construction is permitted within 100 metres periphery of any protected monument and only regulated construction is allowed within next 200 metres. Before taking up construction, one has to approach us else we initiate action,” Pathak said.
Presently, beautification drive is being done in old city around monuments with roads being widened and encroachments removed on the instructions of Akhilesh. The state government also has a plan to set up Lucknow Eye, on the pattern of London Eye, just opposite the allotted land in a park.