Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Maya raises statues over hunger of young children

Recent annual malnutrition survey conducted under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) has found that Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of children suffering from Grade IV malnourishment.

Worse, these children can barely be given the medical attention that they urgently need, as the health services in the district are abysmal. The office of the district child development programme spells out Ghazipur’s shocking statistics — out of the 1,63,150 children below age ten, 5,532 children are severely malnourished.

However, all this has not stopped Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati from unveiling 40 statues — including six of her own. Statues of Mayawati and Kanshi Ram at various places in Lucknow costed state exchequer Rs 6.68 crore. And, the 60 marble elephants at the Ambedkar memorial costed Rs 52 crore. This is just tip of iceberg. The Uttar Pradesh culture department's budget for 2009-10 shows that in 2008-09, the department had allocated more than Rs 194 crore for building statues of "great leaders" — the entire amount was spent.

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