Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav
defends his administration and tells Aditi Phadnis
a sense of balance is needed to judge his tenure. Edited excerpts: There is a sense of disappointment with your tenure as chief minister. People had so many expectations from you and they feel they have been belied.
I agree that people are disappointed. The Lok Sabha results showed as much. But I want to ask: Which state government in India has increased the number of MBA seats by 500 in only two years? Which state government is building an expressway through an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract amounting to Rs 10,000 crore?
Has any state government given laptops to 15,00,000 young men? How many state governments have set up dairy plants with a capacity of 500,000 litres? UP is the only state that has evolved a solar policy that will generate 3,000 Mw power in the next few years. A new power plant will come up in Allahabad by the end of this year and a 2,000 Mw power plant will come up in Lalitpur next year (2015).
UP has no power to offer even to industrial hubs like Noida and Greater Noida. There are four to seven hours of power cuts in Noida.
All that will change very soon. All cities will soon get 20 hours of power. The problem is the infrastructure is old. And, the issue is not only generation. We have distribution and transmission losses.
So, what prevents you from replacing old equipment and stopping power theft?
The equipment is old. In many places, the electricity meters are still the mechanical variety. In this investor summit itself, we’ve finalised nine memoranda of understanding for transmission and distribution.
The problem, of course, is that we have no coal. But once we have upgraded the equipment, by 2016, villages will have power for 18 hours a day and for cities 24 hours a day.
So, you want industry and investors to put their money in 2014 but wait for 2016 for power?
The response so far has been pretty good. We’ve had a large number of investors at this conference: Food processing, information technology, hospitals and health care, power distribution… I have said we have policies in place, it is just a matter of rolling it out.
You have given land for developers to build houses but the National Green Tribunal says the homes are illegal. So, 30,000 people have paid money to developers but run the risk of losing their money. How could the state government have been so lax as to have cleared projects without environmental clearances in place?
The state government has given all clearances. The National Green Tribunal does not come under the state government.
Land acquisition has been done in such a shoddy manner, whether it is Bhatta Parsaul, Tappal or Greater Noida.
Bhatta Parsaul shot in the news not for land acquisition but for the people who visited the agitating farmers.
You should ask the farmers: Have the cases against them been taken back or not? And, the Allahabad High Court has ordered that villagers of Asadullapur, Shaberi Village and Devla in Greater Noida be paid 64 per cent more compensation.
But other people are saying it doesn’t have to be paid. These kinds of things happen in all states.
The less said about the state of roads in UP the better. In Banaras, the roads are so bad.
I will telephone the district magistrate of Banaras and ask him to talk to you and he will tell you the full story. A new sewer line was laid in Banaras. After that, roads were made. There is nothing wrong with those roads and yet the entire election has gone by with the people unable to get at the truth about Banaras roads.
The recent spate of events has proved that UP is not safe.
Combating crime is something that can only be done on a regular basis. We just have to keep doing it. There is no shortcut..