Setting the wheels in motion for the construction of a Ram temple at the site in Ayodhya where the Babri Masjid once stood, the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust Saturday said it has sent two dates, August 3 and August 5, to the Prime Minister and he can choose either for the “bhoomi pujan” at the temple site.
Disclosing this to reporters after a meeting of the Trust in Ayodhya, Kameshwar Chaupal, one of the 15 members of the Trust, said construction will start when the Prime Minister deems it fit after considering the situation in the country, on the border and the pandemic.
“The entire country is of the opinion that it (the bhoomi pujan) should be done by the Prime Minister,” he said.
Incidentally, August 5 will mark one year of the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the State of Jammu & Kashmir into two Union Territories.
Article 370 and the Ram temple were two ideological issues that the BJP, in the NDA’s earlier avatar under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had been forced to place on the backburner due to coalition compulsions.
In November 2019, three months after the abrogation of Article 370, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court directed that the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site be handed over to a Centre-appointed Trust for construction of a temple and Muslims be given an alternate 5-acre site for a mosque.
Emerging from the meeting Saturday, Champat Rai, general secretary of the Trust, said engineering and construction major L&T was collecting soil from a depth of 60 feet for tests.
He said they have requested the Prime Minister to be present for the bhoomi pujan and dates have been suggested by Trust chairman Nritya Gopal Das, but the final decision will be that of the Prime Minister.
He said the administration needs a 15-day notice for the arrival of the Prime Minister and everyone will be informed about the final date accordingly.
Of the 15 trustees, 11 were present at the meeting and four joined via videoconference.
Champat Rai said 35-40 feet of debris at the construction site has been levelled. “Larsen and Toubro is taking samples of soil from a depth of 60 feet below the ground, and based on the report of the sample and strength of the soil, drawings for the foundation of the temple will be made. Where the load will be less i.e. east, the sample will be taken from a depth of 40 feet,” he said.
He said the meeting also decided on the sourcing of stones for the temple, who will bring them and who will prepare the designs. He said architect Chandrakant Sompura had started preliminary work in 1990 and it was decided that he should continue doing it.
On March 25, the idol of Ramlalla was shifted to a makeshift temple near Manas Bhawan by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.