Following the Supreme Court verdict, both the Central and State governments have now set their focus on a complete makeover of the land of Lord Ram leading to the emergence of a ‘New Ayodhya’ on the pattern of the Tirupati temple and township down south.
Besides the construction of a grand Ram temple as a prominent religious destination, the government’s plan for Ayodhya encompasses an integrated revamp of the temple town and its twin city Faizabad.
To begin with, the state government is ready with a draft plan to set up the ‘Ayodhya Tirtha Development Council’ to regulate all other development activities here.
This Council is likely to be headed by the CM himself and a special secretary-rank officer would be its chief executive officer while some official and private members could also be nominated. It is likely to be the umbrella body for carrying out development and beautification of the temple town. It will not
be involved in Ram temple construction.
The government will move a Bill, which has already been drafted, for the constitution of this Council. The draft will be taken up for approval in the next meeting of the State Cabinet.
The other major attractions envisaged in the project include a cruise on the River Sarayu, a Ram Corridor and a major push to the hospitality sector with a five-star hotel and heritage hotels in the temple town.
Moreover, the UP government had conceived a plethora of projects for the makeover of Ayodhya much before the pronouncement of the court order.
CM Yogi had begun work on renovating and beautifying the temple town by approving a Rs 400-crore package for the purpose.
States across the country will be urged to put up a replica of at least one prominent religious site — like the Konark Sun Temple of Odisha or the Somnath temple of Gujarat — in Ayodhya. They will also be invited to have their own residential buildings like ‘Andhra Bhawan’ or ‘Odisha Bhawan’ in Ayodhya.
Sources in the tourism and cultural affairs department claimed that a lot of investors from across the globe had shown keen interest in developing the hospitality sector including heritage hotels and resorts along with upmarket hospitals in Ayodhya.
“There is a plan to convert the ‘Rajsadan’ (royal residence) of Raja Ayodhya into an upmarket heritage hotel at an expense of Rs 5 crore. Similar plans are afoot to convert Kohinoor Palace in Faizabad into a hotel,” said RP Yadav, regional tourism officer. He added that the development plan also had a provision
for eight more hotels and resorts.
“The ongoing renovation and restoration work on religious sites including Guptar Ghat, Ram Ki Paidi, Queen Ho Park, Ram Katha Park and Ramayan Museum are also part of the larger development plan,” said Yadav. Installation of the world’s tallest 251-metre statue of Lord Ram is also a part of the larger development project. The land for the installation of the statue has already been finalised on the banks of the Sarayu.
Sources said there are also plans to develop a 13-km long corridor from the Ram temple site to the place where the Ram statue is being installed on the banks of the Sarayu.
Moreover, the world-class connectivity of the temple town with the outer world is also being worked upon. Rail, road and air traffic routes are being strengthened and expanded to cater to the swelling pilgrim and tourist footfall. A bus station at a cost of Rs 100 crore to accommodate 3,000 to 4,000 buses
at a time is being finalised and work on this would start soon once the CM approves the plan.
The government has also decided to improve connectivity between the twin cities by constructing a 5-km long flyover linking them.
In addition to this, work on the international airport in Ayodhya is already underway on a war footing and the authorities want to make it operational from April 2020 on the occasion of Ram Navami. Along the corridor, the life and times of Lord Ram would be recreated. Other religious sites would also be depicted along the corridor, he said, adding that the proposed project could be named after Lord Ram.