To develop Ayodhya as a top tourist destination, the Akhilesh Yadav government has released funds to develop amenities for tourists in the temple town, upgrade over two decade-old Ram Katha Museum and strengthen the security infrastructure surrounding Ram Janmabhumi/Babri Masjid, including repair of the boundary wall outside the dispute site.
A senior government official said that after Allahabad, Ayodhya has the largest footfall of domestic tourists in UP, which is close to 1.5 crore every year. As per the tourism department records, Ayodhya recorded visit of 1.43 crore domestic tourists in 2014 and the footfall has been above 1 crore for past few years. The footfall of foreign tourists was close to 16,000.
In order to provide uninterrupted power supply to the disputed site in Ayodhya, state Home Department sanctioned Rs 32.32 lakh last week for purchase of three 124 KVA capacity diesel generator sets. Sources inform that the existing two generator sets, bought in the early 90s, had long become non-functional and even state Power Department had said that they were beyond repair.
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Another Rs 78 lakh were sanctioned for repair of the boundary wall that falls between the yellow and red zones of the disputed site. The government has sanctioned Rs 2.29 crore to buy about 0.5 hectare of land near the disputed site to build an accommodation for PAC personnel deployed for security at outer circle.
Apart from the CRPF that looks after inner circle of the security, 14 companies of PAC are deployed there.
“The proposals had come from Faizabad SSP to upgrade the existing security infrastructure surrounding the area, which have been sanctioned from here,” said S N Shukla, Special Secretary, Home Department.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Faizabad SSP Umesh Kumar Srivastava informed that apart from these recent sanctions, he has also forwarded a plan to install about 64 CCTV cameras in the outer security zone near Hanuman Garhi, Janak Bhawan, and Nageshwar, which are also visited by the tourists or pilgrims coming to the disputed site.
“This way, we would be able to provide better security cover to all the areas leading to the site,” said Srivastava.
While central government is mooting the idea of developing a state of art museum in Faizabad district under which Ayodhya falls,the UP Culture Department is already in the process of upgrading over two-decade old Ram Katha Museum and its adjoining park as theme park with the investment of about Rs 6 crore.
UP government is also in the process of developing the “parikrama path” along the ghats on Saryu river from Gola Ghat to Ram Ki Pauri through Laxman Ghat with an expenditure of Rs 1.45 crore. The route was used for different parikramas, including Antar Garhi, Panch Kosi and 14-Kosi, by pilgrims during different months of the year. The route is likely to be completed in December this year.
Another Rs 2.42 crore is being spent on developing a Satsang Bhawan and “Raen Basera (shelter for pilgrims)” in Bara Sthan area of Faizabad, which is likely to be completed in September this year.
“The development works are being carried out both by the Centre and the state government. About Rs 125 crore was sanctioned last year by the central government to develop Faizabad as a tourist spot under which projects such as development of haat, renovation of water bodies are being carried out. Projects such as developing of “parikrama path”, upgradation of Ram Katha Museum, and construction of shelters are being done by the state government,” said Braj Pal Singh, Regional Tourism Officer, Faizabad.