Noida: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Friday inaugurated the 33-acre Dalit Prerna Sthal or the Ambedkar Park in Noida. Mayawati spent Rs 650 crore for the development of the park, which has several statutes of Dalit leaders.
The park has 24 pink sandstone elephants, the electoral symbol of Mayawati's party the Bahujan Samaj Party, 12 life-size statues of Dr BR Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and the UP Chief Minister herself.
The estimated cost of each statue is over Rs 6 crore and each elephant statue costs Rs 70 lakh. In fact Mayawati spent Rs 2500 crores on five such major parks across UP.
But the Noida memorial to Ambedkar has had a chequered history.
In September 2009, a Supreme Court committee recommended putting a halt on the constructions as the project did not have an environment clearance. In December 2010, the Supreme Coourt gave a green signal to Ambedkar Park saying the park is not on forestland.
Environmentalists had alleged the project led to ravaging of Noida's green belt and the loss of 6000 trees. To make matters worse the concrete park has come up right next to Okhla Bird Sanctuary that caused the activists to cry foul.