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3 years since SC order, Ayodhya alternative mosque approvals still not cleared, work yet to start

On November 9, 2019, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court had allotted the disputed Ayodhya land to a new Trust to build the temple and had ordered allotment of an alternative plot of 5 acres to build a mosque.

The land allotted for the mosque in Dhannipur, Ayodhya. (File)

Three years after the Supreme Court granted the UP Sunni Waqf Board a 5-acre plot in Dhannipur village of Ayodhya district to build a mosque, work on the project is yet to start, as the Trust responsible for the construction is yet to receive key approvals from the authorities, according to its officials.

On November 9, 2019, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court had allotted the disputed Ayodhya land to a new Trust to build the temple and had ordered allotment of an alternative plot of 5 acres to build a mosque. Accordingly, UP Sunni Waqf Board set up the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) in July 2020 to construct a mosque in Dhannipur.

An artist’s impression of the mosque that will come up at Dhannipur village in Ayodhya. (Source: Indo Islamic Cultural Foundation Trust)

Asked about the status of the project at present, IICF secretary Athar Hussain told The Indian Express on Tuesday: “We have not received the sanctioned plan yet from the authorities. The map has not been passed by the authorities. Construction cannot start unless we get that. We have not received the sanction due to the change in nature of land from agricultural to institutional land.”

In May 2021, Hussain said, IICF submitted drawings of maps for the proposed mosque to the Ayodhya Development Authority for approval. “We have not received the sanction,” he said. “The file has been sent to the government from the Ayodhya Divisional Commissioner, who is also the chairman of Ayodhya Development Authority. It (sanction) can come any day,” he said.

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As per plan, IICF will build the mosque and community facilities, including a hospital, a community kitchen and an Indo-Islamic cultural research centre that will include an archive/museum. The IICF has forecast a project cost of Rs 110 crore, including Rs 100 crore for the hospital.

Hussain said the NOC for fire safety is also pending, since the entry point to the plot allotted by the district administration on the Supreme Court’s orders is “very narrow”, at only 4.02 metres and needs to be around 9 metres wide.

Pointing out that the nature of land is being changed from agrarian to institutional, the IICF functionary said the administration has approached the government regarding this, as well as other issues. “All pending sanctions will be granted by the government. We have no role in it,” he said.

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“We will start construction work on the mosque very soon,” Hussain said. “For the hospital, which comprises 90 per cent of the project (cost), we will approach some corporates to help us under their corporate social responsibility programme. It (hospital) will be run on charity…”

Meanwhile, the temple construction committee is aiming to complete construction of the ground floor garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum) by December 2023, with the remaining work to be done by December 2024. Officials said the temple is expected to be opened to the public by early-2024.

On Tuesday, Anil Mishra, a member of the committee, said: “Nearly 13 feet of construction has been done around the sanctum sanctorum. The poles of the sanctum have almost been built; work for construction of the walls is going on and filling work is being done around the temple. The retaining wall has been built up to six metres. (Supply of) around 70 per cent of marbles to be used in construction have come; the remaining will arrive soon.”

First published on: 06-12-2022 at 21:30 IST
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