The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Brakes on Tandon’s Atal ‘gift’

Lucknow, Nov. 12: The Archaeological Survey of India, which scuttled Mayavati’s Taj corridor project, has now blocked a scheme mooted by her one-time rakhi brother and former BJP minister Lalji Tandon.

The Rs 32-crore Gomti Riverfront Project was supposed to be Tandon’s gift to his mentor — the Prime Minister — in his Lucknow constituency. A.B. Vajpayee had inaugurated the project amid much fanfare on May 21.

But the ASI has blocked it on the ground that the project, which among other things envisages erecting an arched gate near the Shaheed Smarak, violates the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1959. The decision has left Tandon fuming, but ASI officials said their objections “are similar to those raised against the Taj corridor project”.

Tandon responded by saying: “The ASI is creating unnecessary controversy and I will seek the Centre’s intervention to set things right.”

The BJP leader, who was urban development minister in the Mayavati government, slammed the ASI for rejecting the proposal submitted by the Lucknow Development Authority to erect the arched gate.

ASI officials deny the charge. But they have said they will block another dream project of Tandon’s — the Gaurav Kunj. They say the projects fall “within 100 metres from the Residency relics and clearly violated the Act of 1959”.

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