The groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed Ram temple at the Ram Janambhoomi site in Ayodhya will take place today amid hopes of a better future following massive upgrade plans that involve a brand new airport and a glitzy railway station. The Uttar Pradesh government has announced a number of development and beautification projects in the temple town, with a budget of more than Rs 500 crore.
There are plans to promote Ayodhya as a big religious tourism destination. The government is expecting huge footfall by 2024, when the long-awaited Ram temple is expected to be completed.
The advance planning includes not only a new airport and railway station, but also an upgrade of the nearby highway and local tourist spots.
As of now, Ayodhya has an airstrip for the use of VIPs. But the government has announced that it will be converted into an airport. Not much has happened since the announcement made two years ago. The government is still in the process of land acquisition.
The national highway upgrade has a budget of Rs 250 crore. The water supply project will also be upgraded which has a budget of Rs 54 crore. Rs 7 crore has been earmarked for the bus station and an equal amount for the police barracks.
Rs 16 crore has been set aside for the modernisation of the Tulsi Smarak. The local Rajshri Dasrath Medical College will also be upgraded, for which 134 crore has been allotted.
Despite dominating politics in north India for decades, Ayodhya had been a sleepy little town, where the young people demanded development.
“We have moved on from mandir-masjid,” students at the Saket College, Ayodhya’s most prestigious educational institution, had said ahead of the 2017 state elections.
“Where are the jobs, the factories,” they asked, claiming that the BJP’s development mantra has passed Ayodhya by.
According to government figures, between 2003 and 2012, the number of industrial units in Ayodhya-Faizabad area went up by just 50 — from 377 to 426.
In November 2018, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had announced grand plans for an airport and a medical college. There were plans to build a Ramayan circuit by the river Saryu that passes through the town.