Mayawati has money for statues, not for education?

Union Education Minister Kapil Sibal has slammed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati for her recent statements against the Right to Education Act. After the BSP chief Mayawati claimed her state did not have enough funds to implement the RTE Act, Sibal has suggested that the CM divert some of the funds she allotted to build memorials towards the welfare of children.

Sibal has said the Uttar Pradesh government could easily use some of the money it has set aside to build statues, towards implementing the RTE Act and that this would be "money well spent."

"Uttar Pradesh (government) has loads of money that they are spending on memorials. If that very money was to be diverted to empower the children of Uttar Pradesh and of course the children of India, perhaps that would be money better spent," HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said, reacting to Mayawati's remark in Lucknow yesterday.

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Pradesh too hit out at the Chief Minister, saying, "Mayawati has money only for the statues... that's the real problem."

Mayawati had on Saturday (April 3) criticised the UPA government for enacting and implementing the RTE without provisioning funds for the programme and asked the Central government to provide the money for imparting compulsory education to children of the state. Her comments have added yet another spark to the already raging fire of controversy over the vast amounts allocated by her government to build memorials of Dalit leaders.

Sibal said no other Chief Minister had raised an issue of this nature with regard to the RTE and that the law should not be politicised.

"I do not think that other Chief Ministers have raised issues of this nature and I do not think we have to inject politics on an issue that deals with the empowerment of children," he added.

Prasad, on his part said, Mayawati had also spoken of unavailability of funds to compensate the victims of a recent stampede at an ashram in Uttar Pradesh.

"She has funds for statues, security guards for those statues and such things," he added.

Mayawati claimed that to implement the Act in Uttar Pradesh, Rs 18,000 crore would be needed in one year, of which 45 per cent - Rs 8,000 crore - has to be contributed by the state.

She went on to say it would be difficult for the state to arrange for Rs 8,000 crore considering its present financial condition.



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