AMID SP and BJP’s ongoing tussle for credit for the Kanpur Metro, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday laid the foundation stone of the project in the presence of Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and local BJP MP Murli Manohar Joshi.
While Akhilesh said the Centre had “fully cooperated” to ensure the project’s speedy progress, as had been the case of Metro projects in Lucknow, Noida and Ghaziabad, Naidu said political differences should not become a hurdle in the way of development.
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However, SP workers, who formed majority of the gathering at the venue, raised slogans such as — ‘Kanpur mein Metro lane wale Akhilesh Yadav zindabad! Kanpur ko Metro city banane wale Akhileh Yadav zindabad!’ BJP workers, on the other hand, observed the day as ‘Metro Diwas’.
They burst crackers and distributed sweets while raising slogans such as ‘Kanpur mein Metro kaun laya? Modi laya! Modi laya!’
Later, while maintaining that the SP government will cooperate with the Centre when it comes to development, Akhilesh said: “But Samajwadis have also seen days when the Centre had stopped releasing funds because ‘Samajwadi’ was written on 108 and 102 ambulances… The state government had then decided to operate ambulances from its own resources…”
“The Centre has not allotted the state sufficient funds for development projects despite the BJP having a majority of Lok Sabha seats in UP… Because of certain changes in schemes, the state did not get the desired amount… But we will not stop any project. We will execute each of them,” he added.
Akhilesh said his government had set aside 100 acres for the development of AIIMS in Gorakhpur.
“There was a government in the past that did not provide land for AIIMS in Rae Bareli. The project started only when SP came to power,” he added.
Thanking Joshi, Akhilesh said that the BJP leader had been “concerned” about the commencement of Kanpur Metro project. He added that the state government had resolved the problem of power supply in Kanpur, ending his speech by saying, “Jab itna kuch samadhan kar diya to aane wale samay mein hum sabon ka bhi khayal rakhna (We have solved so many problems, in the coming days, please take care of us too).”
Earlier, Naidu had said that the Kanpur Metro project does not belong to any individual, and will be developed with the cooperation of the Centre and the state government. He said that the Centre had received the proposal for the Metro from the state on April 4 this year, and it was approved the next day.
Naidu further said that a Metro project has also been proposed in Varanasi, and nearly 520-km of rail tracks would be laid in next two years across the country, adding that a maximum of 14 smart cities have been selected from UP. He also emphasised that the state government had not sent any proposal to the Centre under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana so far, but the Centre was committed to the development and growth of the state. On the recent surgical attacks carried out by India against Pakistan, Naidu said that the country had begun its fight against terrorism, and that the fight would continue.
After the ceremony, work started on the first corridor of the Kanpur Metro rail project, which will connect IIT-Kanpur to Naubasta. The second corridor will connect Agriculture University to Barra-8. The total length of both corridors – which will have 31 stations including 19 elevated and 12 underground, is proposed to be 32 km.
Days before the inauguration, BJP and SP workers had put up posters taking credit for the project, even though it is a joint venture of the Centre and the state government.