" -- Indo-Asian News Service"
Lucknow, Sep 1 - Amid an unprecedented power crisis and a drought in the state, a high-level delegation led by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav left for Netherlands Monday, a government spokesman informed.

Accompanied by ministers and senior bureaucrats including chief secretary Alok Ranjan, Yadav will be meeting industry captains and government officials in Netherlands in a bid to attract investment in the state and enhance trade ties.

Soon after arriving in Amsterdam, Yadav is slated to visit the world's biggest flower auction centre Flora Holland at Aalsmeer.

The centre is known world over as the capital of flowers. The visit to this centre, an officer said was to gather knowledge about techniques to grow flowers in UP and also to learn how they are gathered at one place, their upkeep and the subsequent marketing.

UP is looking to expand its floral growth and maximize its exports. The same day, Yadav will hold a meeting with officers of the Netherlands Agro Food and Technology Centre (NAFTC) and learn from its experts how to minimize wastage of food products through a food value chain.

Due to lack of post-harvesting technology and collection, preservation facilities a major part of the harvest is wasted in the state.

In such cases, experience and expertise of this group will come in handy for the state, the official informed while adding that Netherlands was acclaimed for its advanced agro-food technology and UP is likely to benefit immensely from their knowhow.

UP chief minister is also scheduled to meet the Mayor of the Hague Jozias Van Aartsen.

During the deliberations the UP contingent is likely to take tips on development of cycling as a commuters first choice in UP. More than 57 per cent people of Netherlands use bicycle.

The delegation will try to understand the taxation and infrastructure mechanism in the country so that it can be replicated by developing cycling tracks in places like Agra, Lucknow, Noida and greater Noida in UP, an official accompanying the chief minister told IANS.

The official added that such a move will curb pollution and ease pressure on traffic in these cities.

Yadav will also visit the International Court of Justice at The Hague and meet trade groups and Non-resident Indians (NRI's).

However, the visit has been criticised by opposition parties, as it comes in wake of an unprecedented power crisis and drought in two-third of districts.

Such trips are necessary but the timing of this particular visit and the fact that both the CM and the chief secretary are away from the state in such crisis situation speakes volumes of the casual approach of the Samajwadi Party (SP) government in attending to problems faced by the people, said Vijay Bahadur Pathak, state spokesman of the BJP.

The BJP leader also said that investment would only come when law and order was good and power scenario improved. In absence of these, why and how will investment come, he added.

Leader of opposition Swamy Prasad Maurya said, The tour will make no difference and accused the state government of being indifferent to the plight of the common man.

A senior BSP leader said in any case the CM was a non-functional entity and hence his absence for a few days was not of much consequence.

-- Indo-Asian News Service

md/pv


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