scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Saturday, December 04, 2021

Chhattisgarh to develop 8 sites under Ram Vangaman Path plan

Civil society activists said that the government's priorities were skewed, and there was little difference between the Congress and BJP governments.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | Raipur |
November 22, 2019 4:14:53 am
Chhattisgarh to develop 8 sites under Ram Vangaman Path plan A cabinet release said that there is evidence to suggest that of the 14 years that “Lord Shri Ram spent in exile”, at least ten of those years were in Chhattisgarh. (Illustration by C R Sasikumar/File)

The Congress government in Chhattisgarh has said it will develop eight sites in the state as ‘tourist centres’, as part of the “Lord Shri Ram Vangaman Path”. The decision was taken in a meeting of the Chhattisgarh cabinet on Thursday.

A cabinet release said that there is evidence to suggest that of the 14 years that “Lord Shri Ram spent in exile”, at least ten of those years were in Chhattisgarh. The release said, “According to books written by discoverers, of the 14 years of his exile in the forests, Lord Shri Ram spent ten years in Chhattisgarh.”

The release said there are 75 places that Lord Ram visited in Chhattisgarh, of which he stayed at 51. The eight places to be developed will be promoted as part of the first phase of operations.

“The Chhattisgarh government is developing the Ram Van Gaman path from a tourist point of view. Looking to its development, these places must be made familiar with tourists, devotees and people from within the state. Facilities will be created for tourists that come to these spots. For these places the state government will allocate a budget, and will also ask the Centre for funds for these projects so that they get national and international fame,” it said.

The move has brought sharp reactions from both the BJP and civil society activists.

The BJP hit out at the Congress for its “political opportunism” and said that the people would see through this “charade”. “It is the history of the Congress to do appeasement politics. They have done this opportunism through their history, whether it is on Lord Shri Ram or the Ayodhya temple. The people will see through this,” said BJP leader O P Choudhary.

Civil society activists said that the governments priorities were skewed, and there was little difference between the Congress and BJP governments.

“There are so many things that were promised by the party in their manifesto. Just by giving Rs 2,500 to farmers (for paddy procurement) doesn’t mean work is complete. There needs to be work on irrigation, on the Forest Rights Act, on stopping alleged fake encounters. You want to create spots for Ram Van Gaman Path near Surguja. But you are giving away forest land of the adivasis for mining. The priorities seem skewed in favour of grabbing some national headlines as opposed to work on the ground,” said Alok Shukla, convenor of the Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan.

The Congress defended the decision, with spokesperson R P Singh saying, “The BJP uses Lord Ram for politics, for division. For us, Lord Ram is part of our culture and tradition. We are only telling the people that he spent so many years here and bringing out his life. What is the problem with that?”

However, senior Congress leaders, on the condition of anonymity, admitted that they thought there was political dividend in the move.

“We need to remove the idea that the BJP is the only party that respects Lord Ram. We do too, it’s only that we are not divisive. But in the future, this can work for us too. If you look at what the cabinet has said, it says it will ask the Centre for funds for this path. If the Centre accedes, they will have to admit that they agree with the idea. If they deny the finances, the Congress will be able to reiterate that it is the BJP that uses Lord Ram for politics and doesn’t really care,” a senior party leader said.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by indianexpress.com.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement