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Pilgrim’s progress: In UP Budget, Yogi govt’s focus religion & culture

The religious, cultural and regional focus of the Rs 6 lakh crore budget was evident as the CM spoke as how the government aimed at presenting to the world the upcoming Maha Kumbh as a “unique event”, referring to it as the biggest “spiritual and cultural gathering”.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow |
Updated: May 27, 2022 1:56:47 pm
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath with state Finance Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna before the presentation of the State Budget 2022-23 in Assembly, in Lucknow, Thursday, May 26. 2022. (PTI)

As soon as the 2022-23 annual Budget was tabled in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath underlined as how the state government has made a provision of Rs 100 crore for the preparations for the 2025 Maha Kumbh.

The religious, cultural and regional focus of the Rs 6 lakh crore budget was evident as the CM spoke as how the government aimed at presenting to the world the upcoming Maha Kumbh as a “unique event”, referring to it as the biggest “spiritual and cultural gathering”.

From infrastructure and amenities in Ayodhya, Kashi, Vindhya and Chitrakoot Dham, the welfare of elderly priests to Rs 50 lakh provision for the development of online integrated information system for temples, the budget made provision for all.

The Public Works Department (PWD) made a provision of Rs 500 crore for the construction of a road to make the “darshan” of Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga in Varanasi hassle-free for pilgrims and the development of ‘Surya Kund’ in Ayodhya.

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Also, the CM spoke as to how keeping in tune with the BJP’s pre-poll promises made in the manifesto for the 2022 Assembly polls, the government made a provision for the formation of a board for the welfare of elderly “pujaris, purohits and sants”, online integrated system for temples, an international airport in Ayodhya and how footfall at Kashi Vishwanath Dham has increased tremendously after its renovation and beautification.

The development of Kashi Vishwanath Dham has led to an increase in the footfall of pilgrims in Varanasi, he said, adding that there was the need to develop more facilities.

“In Varanasi, after development of Kashi Vishwanath Dham, the footfall of tourists has increased many times. Over 1 lakh pilgrims are coming to Baba Vishwanath temple daily. Considering the volume of pilgrim arrival in Varanasi, a provision has been made for a ropeway and metro in the city,” Adityanath said.

Besides, the budget made a provision of Rs 77 crore for the expansion of the approach road from the banks of Ganga to Kashi Vishwanath Dham in Varanasi. It also made a provision of Rs 25 crore for setting up Sant Ravidas Museum and Cultural Centre in Varanasi. It also set aside another Rs 100 crore for the development and beautification of tourism facilities in the city.

Ayodhya too got equal attention in the budget document. The CM informed that a provision was made for the development of Maryada Purushottam Sri Ram International Airport in Ayodhya. Moreover, Rs 300 crore was earmarked for the construction of an approach road to Ram Janmabhumi. An additional Rs 209.70 core has been set aside for infrastructural development in the town, including construction of parking lots and other public amenities.

On the lines of Kashi Vishwanath Dham, Rs 100 crore provision was made for the development and beautification of tourism facilities in Ayodhya.

No only this, the housing sector made a budgetary provision of Rs 140 crore for an “overall development” of the city, especially building a ‘Surya Kund’. The PWD earmarked Rs 500 crore for the development of a four-lane model road from Rajghat bridge to Ramnagar opposite Ganga Ghat.

The government is focusing on the development of other dhams — Rs 3.50 crore for the Vindhya Dham Teerth Vikas Parishad and Rs 3.50 crore for Chitrakoot Dham Pilgrimage Development. Not surprisingly, most of the new and major provisions in the tourism sector are for urban religious centres.

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