Uttar Pradesh aims to tap CSR funds for 100-metre Ram Statue in Ayodhya

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New Delhi: The Yogi Adityanath government plans to attract corporate funds to build a 100-metre tall statue of Lord Ram on the banks of Saryu in Ayodhya to bring about ‘social development.
It has opened up 86 tourism projects worth Rs 2,725 crore in 10 towns, including Varanasi and Gorakhpur, to companies that may want to spend their mandatory 2% of net profit under CSR on them.
Two big-ticket projects of the 86 on offer are in Ayodhya — a 100-meter high Lord Ram statue at a cost of Rs 330 crore and development of a ‘Navyu Ayodhya’ (New Ayodhya) on the banks of the Saryu at Rs 350 crore, complete with a 7D Ramlila, Ramkatha gallery, light and sound show on Ramlila and musical fountains.
The projects were announced by the CM last year and soon after former CM Akhilesh Yadav announced a 50-metre tall statue of Lord Krishna in Saifai. The UP government has come out with a 26-page booklet it has prepared with knowledge partner EY, listing projects eligible for investment under CSR.
“We are still to publicise this… but it is part of our new policy,” UP Principal Secretary (Tourism) Awanish Kumar Awasthi told ET. Four such projects in Ayodhya have the biggest budget at Rs 755 crore. “Ayodhya holds a place of pride among devotees of Lord Ram… Ayodhya has a large potential to become an international tourist destination,” according to the booklet. The projects on offer include development of the Gorakhpur Temple campus worth Rs 45 crore.
Adityanath is still the head priest of the Gorakhnath Temple. Other proposals are a Rs 75 crore ropeway project above the Sangam in Allahabad where the Kumbh will be organised in 2019, a Rs 200 crore redevelopment of the Parikarma route around Mathura’s Goverdhan Hill, which Lord Krishna is said to have lifted, and revitalisation of the Panchkoshi Parikarma route in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, for Rs 100 crore.
Projects including street rejuvenation in Varanasi and Ayodhya, illumination of main monuments in these towns and a light and sound show at Varanasi’s Assi Ghat are on offer, too.

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