In proposing Ram statue, Yogi follows in Gujarat, Maharashtra's footsteps

Topics Ayodhya

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Iconic statues, among other monuments and edifices, have always drawn a crowd, take the Statue of Liberty for example. The Uttar Pradesh government is hoping to draw a crowd too, of tourists, even though their project is not reported to be nearly as ambitious as the aforementioned structure, with a religious statue in the city of Ayodhya. 

The Yogi Adityanath government plans to install a statue of Lord Rama on the banks of the River Saryu in Uttar Pradesh. According to media reports, the statue will be 100-metre long. (Read more here

The statue is proposed to be built in Ayodhya, close to the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site, according to an NDTV report. While sources cited by the article refused to confirm that it would be 100-metre long, they said that the height of the statue would be imposing. According to the report, the proposal, which has been sent to the state's Governor, is meant to boost religious tourism in the state. 

The statue will be installed only after clearance from the National Green Tribunal, Principal Secretary Tourism Awanish Awasthi told news agency PTI on Tuesday. Earlier, while speaking to NDTV, Awasthi had confirmed the existence of such a proposal, saying that it was in the "conceptual stage" and that it was one among many proposals for the state's various tourist destinations. Awasthi pointed to similar statues he said could be found in Bali in Indonesia.

The proposed statue is part of a larger integrated development plan for Ayodhya, for which the Adityanath government has sent a detailed project report of Rs 195.89 crore to the Union Tourism Ministry, which has provided Rs 133.70 crore to the state so far, according to Indian Express

The state and its people are no strangers to public projects to build statues. Former chief minister Mayawati's administration was a prolific statue builder too.  

When she was UP's chief minister, Mayawati had been on a memorial-building spree. 

On January 15, 2003, Mayawati had inaugurated the Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal, a memorial for the Dalit leader and architect of the Indian Constitution spread over 125 acres on the banks of the Gomti. The memorial houses a statue of Ambedkar and, since its opening, the park has received several makeovers. (Read more here)

Another project undertaken during Mayawati's tenure is the Rashtriya Dalit Smarak at Noida, near Delhi. Spread across 33.45 acres on the banks of the Yamuna, it cost the state Rs 685 crore. There are 24 elephants (the election symbol of Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party) in pink sandstone. And there are 12 statues of Ambedkar, BSP founder Kanshi Ram and Mayawati. Each elephant has cost Rs 70 lakh, while the statues cost over Rs 6 crore apiece. No fewer than 2,500 masons and workers were employed in the venture. 

Mayawati had drawn severe criticism for these parks. The money (over Rs 4,500 crore) could have been spent, her critics say, on laying roads, building schools and hospitals, and generating power — all sectors where Uttar Pradesh lags the national average.

However, none of these projects, on their own, were as ambitious as the Prime Minister's project, which is coming up in Gujarat. The over 182-metre statue of India's first Deputy Prime Minister, called the Statue of Unity, is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet project and is billed to be the world's tallest. It is coming up near the Sardar Sarovar dam across Narmada river in Narmada district of Gujarat. (Read more here

As reported by the Indian Express in July of 2014, the tender bid for the construction and maintenance of the Statue of Unity was bagged by engineering giant L&T, which got the contract at the lowest bid of Rs 2,980 crore. Originally, the estimated cost of the project had been set at Rs 2,063 crore.

A grand statue and memorial of Chhatrapati Shivaji are also coming up in Mumbai. (Read more here)

The memorial and statue are expected to come up on a rocky islet one kilometre off the shores of South Mumbai on the Arabian Sea overlooking Marine Drive, with the Malabar Hill on one end and Nariman Point at the other.

Slated to be 309 feet tall, the statue along with a pedestal and foundation would be taller than New York's Statue of Liberty and was expected to be a major tourist attraction.

The state government has secured 12 major permissions from the Centre including those from the Environment Ministry, Defence Ministry, Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and others, he added.

As reported in April this year, the Maharashtra PWD approved L&T's bid to construct Phase-I of the ambitious memorial at a cost that was much higher than the estimate for the entire project. L&T's bid, which still needed a final Cabinet nod, was for Rs 3,826 crore for Phase-I of the project, over 50 per cent higher than the state government's estimate of Rs 2,500 crore for the initial phase. (Read more here)

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