It took a rather scathing reprimand by ruling Samajwadi Party’s President Mulayam Singh Yadav over the slow pace of development works in Uttar Pradesh to put the Akhilesh Yadav government back on track.
The latest in the series of public admonishment came on November 23 at the foundation-laying ceremony of the 302-km Agra-Lucknow Expressway.
Mulayam, who had been a teacher and wrestler in the past, minced no words in lashing at the state ministers, officials and party leaders for the slow pace in works, which he warned would hurt the electoral prospects of the party in future.
He had sternly asked ministers to apprise him within two weeks of the most important works/projects completed by them lest face the music.
Mulayam’s outburst had made the ministers who were present sink into their seats even as Akhilesh tried to put up a brave face with his signature-smiling demeanour.
However, taking a leaf out of the criticism by party patriarch, the entire state government and administrative machinery has taken notice and taken up the effort to speed up the pending projects.
The government has also decided to hold press conferences to update media about the various achievements and initiatives by the Akhilesh dispensation.
The chief minister has recently held a review meeting with senior bureaucrats and principal secretaries of all the important departments: The urban development, higher education, agriculture, home, labour, forest and energy.
Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan has also started the process of periodic review of important projects by either face-to-face or through videoconferencing.
In a recent conference call, he said the chief minister during a review meeting had been quite particular about the utilisation of funds and progress of physical work.
So far, Ranjan had held press conferences over progress in IT and industrial development departments. More conference calls are expected in the days ahead as and when the concerned departments collate data to be shared.
The marquee projects of Agra-Lucknow Expressway, Lucknow Metro Rail and Lucknow IT City have been especially fast-tracked, so that they are operational before 2017 assembly polls.
Other projects pertaining to energy, solid-waste management, solar power, modern police control rooms, e-rickshaw, prisons, degree colleges, night shelters for the destitute, roads and Green UP-Clean UP programme among others, have also been taken up on priority.