Yogi government has launched $3.8-billion projects in Ayodhya
By VIRENDRA SINGH RAWAT
LUCKNOW, Aug 15 (The CONNECT) - Ahead of the crucial 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, the Yogi Adityanath government has launched projects worth about Rs 28,000 crore or roughly $3.8 billion in the temple town of Ayodhya.
These ongoing multifarious projects numbering 32 pertain to 12 different departments, according to the UP government. These include works related to the redevelopment of ghats (river banks), roads, public and civic amenities, plantations, beautification, housing, solar city projects, grandiose welcome arches, redevelopment of city lanes and bylanes etc.
With less than six months remaining for the 2022 polls, when chief minister Adityanath will seek another term amid farm protests, closing of ranks by the opposition and Covid-19 pandemic, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is expediting ongoing projects, especially those having a timeline of completion before December 2021.
Recently, UP chief secretary R K Tiwari, who presides over the high-level committee constituted for the development of Ayodhya, had directed officials to draw up monthly timelines for these projects and review their progress on a weekly basis to ensure there were no time overruns.
Earlier, the state had selected globally renowned consultant firms, including Lea Associates, to prepare the blueprint of transforming Ayodhya from an ancient town to a world class tourist and religious tourism hub.
Moreover, the state is expediting the phase I of the proposed greenfield New Ayodhya township, which will comprise star hotels, shopping malls, multiplexes, parks, commercial complexes etc to showcase a contemporary Ayodhya town on the country’s tourism landscape.
The ongoing redevelopment of Ayodhya airstrip as an international airport, the construction of Lord Ram Temple and the proposed construction of world’s tallest 251 metre bronze statue of Lord Ram are expected to provide tremendous impetus to the tourism potential of Ayodhya.
Situated on the banks of river Saryu, Ayodhya, the proverbial ground zero of Hindutva politics, is a much revered constituent of the Awadh region in Central Uttar Pradesh for its association with Lord Ram and being the nucleus of the protracted Ram temple movement, which predated the country’s Independence.
After prolonged legal battle, a division bench of the Supreme Court (SC) had on November 9, 2019 cleared the decks for the temple’s construction by ordering for constituting a Trust for the purpose.
Although, Ram temple movement is credited with helping the BJP derive political capital by consolidating its vote bank on the issue, the temple town had, over the decades, lost miserably to its peers in the socioeconomic matrix, which manifested in poor civic amenities, lack of quality hotels or connectivity to attract tourists. However, things are now fast changing for the temple town.
Not only Ayodhya, but the UP government has launched similar development and tourism projects in other cultural and religious centres of the states notably Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Mirzapur, Mathura, Prayagraj etc.