Updated: February 2, 2021 4:11:33 am
The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust that has been formed to facilitate the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya started the second phase of the fund collection campaign on Monday. The Trust claimed to have collected around Rs 300 crore in the last 17 days in the first phase of the mass contact and contribution drive.
The second and last phase will continue till February 27, which is also the day of Magh Purnima, when the first “holy bath” of the Kumbh Mela takes place. Sant Ravidass Jayanti will also be observed that day.
The Trust said the volunteers would go door to door to collect contributions ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 1,000 and more. According to Trust officials, so far they went to specific and prominent people interested in donating Rs 2,000 or more.
Earlier in the day, kicking off the second phase from Ayodhya’s Rekabganj area, Trust General Secretary Champat Rai reached out to local street vendors and appealed for contributions for the construction of the temple. He said the second phase was started to ensure that people in relatively weaker economic situations can also participate in the construction of the grand temple.
The official in charge of the Trust office in Ayodhya, Prakash Gupta, told The Indian Express that until now the campaign was taking money from prominent people and giving them receipts. “Those we expected will give more than Rs 2,000 were approached till January 31. Now, we will reach out from door to door and collect their contributions using coupons of Rs 10, 100 and 1,000 as per their will. This will go on for the next 27 days,” he added.
Asked how much had been collected so far, he said it was around Rs 300 crore. “However, given that the campaign is going on across the country with a lot of cheques are still to be deposited in the banks and a lot of cash is yet to reach us, the amount might very well be above Rs 500 crore. The exact amount can be confirmed once the campaign is over and we count the entire amount. Every single day the branches of the State Bank of India, the Punjab National Bank and the Bank of Baroda are getting thousands of entries,” he added.
Gupta said the Trust had received massive contributions from many people, with over 100 people contributing more than Rs 1 crore each. Prominent people from the Sindhi community across India, including from Bhopal, Mumbai, collectively contributed around 200 kg of silver to be used in the temple, he added.
In December, Champat Rai had said that the Trust was planning to reach at least 55 crore people and 11 crore families in five lakh villages across India during the 44-day-long campaign, which began on Makar Sankranti on January 14. According to Rai, the public will also be made aware of the historical significance of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. He said the Trust had envisaged building the temple with voluntary contributions of devotees just like crores of “Ram bhakts [devotees of Ram]” contributed to the Ramjanmbhoomi movement.
Rai said that even if 70 per cent of the target was completed, it would be the biggest public reach campaign in the world so far. In order to ensure full transparency, the money will be deposited in three different banks – State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and Bank of Baroda, and no volunteer will keep the money for more than 48 hours. All the applicable laws made by the government are also to be followed while taking contributions from devotees living abroad.
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