There is nothing better than cycling in the time of ‘notebandi’, said Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in Agra on Sunday, as he inaugurated the Inner Ring Road project along with a 207 km bicycle highway from the city to Etawah, touted as Asia’s longest.
“Ab notebandi ke samay jinko bhi paise bachana hai to cycle ka sahara to lena hi padega. Ab agar Mayawati cycle se aaye, BJP wale cycle se aaye, to prachaar to humara hi hoga (If anyone wants to save money during this note ban, they will have to rely on cycles. If Mayawati and BJP members came in cycles, it is our work that will get publicised),” he added.
Slamming the BJP over demonetisation, Akhilesh said that when the SP announced it would be distributing smartphones to the public, it was dubbed as “election dole”, while now Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself was advising people to switch to phone banking.
Claiming that around 1 crore people in Uttar Pradesh had applied for his party’s free smartphone scheme, he said, “Agar is ek crore janta ne hume vote de dia, to kaiyo ke to khate bhi nahi khulenge (if these 1 crore applicants voted in our favour, many parties would not even open their vote accounts).”
The CM said, while other parties may taunt SP over various issues, no one can beat it when it comes to development. People have been cheated by the Modi government with demonetisation, he added.
Without mentioning Modi’s speech at Kushinagar, where he also criticised the SP government for “not implementing” Centre’s farmer welfare schemes, Akhilesh said the Modi government has “failed” to fulfill its promises to Agra. “Our government has sped up development works and launched several projects that will help make people’s life better,” the chief minister said.
“Overnight decision without adequate preparations had led to a series of problems for ordinary people,” he said, adding, “Rs 2,000 note will only help people make more black money in less time. Corruption and black money will not stop but people will face lots of problems.” He suggested the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and 1,000 notes was taken with the UP Assembly elections in mind. The state goes to polls next year.
The chief minister earlier inaugurated around 33 ongoing and nearly complete projects in the city. He reached the stage of the event on a bicycle, which he rode for about three kilometres on the Etawah-Agra bicycle highway.
Akhilesh said his government was concerned about environment protection and had taken up several steps in this regard, including establishing a Lion Safari in Etawah and planting a “record number of saplings in July” — five crores in just 12 hours — which was recorded in the Guinness Book of records.
The state government ensures progress and infrastructural growth do not come at the cost of the environment, he said, after releasing a book called the ‘The Green Path’, which lists priorities and green initiatives taken by his government.