Lost in Kumbh Mela? Where did 800 Cr Go, Opposition asks UP Government

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav

Allahabad: The Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh has been accused of misusing around Rs 800 crore rupees meant for the Kumbh Mela, the world's largest spiritual gathering held at Allahabad.

Last year, the Chief Minister had projected the "Maha Kumbh Mela" event as his government's mega achievement. The national auditor has questioned that claim.

The Comptroller and Auditor General or CAG has said in a report that the state government's contribution to the event was only one per cent - and not 70 per cent that it is meant to be.

The state government paid just 11 crore, though the Centre spent a staggering Rs 1,150 crore.

The UP government had demanded an extra 800 crores from the Centre for the Mela. The state government spent this grant, along with the central government's 30 per cent share, but never used its own share of Kumbh funds, which is nearly 800 crores.

Opposition parties like the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party have asked the government to explain whether it diverted funds meant for the Kumbh Mela or siphoned it off.

The auditor also noted other irregularities - nearly 60 per cent construction work was incomplete when the Kumbh Mela started, there were "shortfalls of 10 to 100 percent" in security and other manpower and 77 fire extinguishers were missing in a tented city packed with lakhs of combustible tents. More than half the ambulances posted at the site were not in service.

The rush for a holy dip on the biggest day of the Kumbh ended in tragedy when 37 people were killed in a stampede at a station in the city.
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