The Lucknow bonfire dilemma: Warming up VVIPs at the cost of common man? - Hindustan Times
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The Lucknow bonfire dilemma: Warming up VVIPs at the cost of common man?

By, Lucknow
Dec 30, 2023 06:14 AM IST

People express no objection to bonfires for VVIP security personnel but raise concerns about the common man bearing the cost.

The claims made by the Lucknow municipal corporation (LMC) that it has lit up bonfires at 288 locations across the state capital appear to be shallow, as it becomes apparent that the majority of them are allocated for the security staff of ministers, officials and other VVIPs.

'' People getting relaxed from shivering cold by sittingnear bonfire '', at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. [ Photo by Dheeraj Dhawan / Hindustan Times ] (HT File Photo)
'' People getting relaxed from shivering cold by sittingnear bonfire '', at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. [ Photo by Dheeraj Dhawan / Hindustan Times ] (HT File Photo)

People express no objection to bonfires for VVIP security personnel but raise concerns about the common man bearing the cost. LMC corporators demand a separate fund for VVIPs and the common man to ensure that the latter does not suffer due to VVIP arrangements.

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Five-time corporator Sayyed Yawar Hussain Reshu accused LMC of prioritising VVIPs, and said, “LMC is primarily catering to the comfort of VVIPs; that’s why it has illuminated most of the bonfires in front of selected VVIP residences in the city. There is no justification for lighting bonfires exclusively in front of VVIP houses, as their security personnel reap the benefits, but at whose cost? It’s at the expense of the common man. If LMC can allocate resources to light bonfires there, it should also extend this service to the common man at all the important crossings in the city, which it is currently neglecting. We have urged that bonfires be established in more than 600 locations in the city, as was done last year when bonfires were set up at over 600 places.”

Reshu added, “The facility meant for the poorest of the poor is utilised without hesitation by the staff of VVIPs on their ‘recommendation.’”

City Congress spokesperson Mukesh Singh Chauhan, also a corporator, expressed support for bonfires in front of VVIP houses but called for a separate fund for VVIP staff warming. “I have no objection to n bonfires in front of all VVIP houses at Kalidas Marg and Vikramaditya Marg. But they should keep a different fund for warming the VVIP staff.”

According to officials, the municipal corporation spends 12 lakhs per day on bonfires in the city.

Additional municipal commissioner Arvind Rao said, “LMC tries to cover every important spot like railways stations, bus stations, tempo stands, taxi stands, rickshaw stands and important crossings. We don’t discriminate when it comes to lighting bonfires for the poor. However, security personnel are also human beings and mind you they are not VVIPs, they are performing duties in front of VVIP houses, so please don’t divide bonfires into VVIPs or non VVIPs. If LMC drops wood for the security staff, then it is out of respect for these people who work overnight to defend us. Just think of them as someone who is working for the whole night. But I can assure you LMC is dropping wood for bonfires at every possible place which is highlighted by public representatives.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Anupam Srivastava is a Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, Lucknow. Has produced exclusive stories in medical, civil aviation, civic, political and other issues for over 20 years.

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