Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the world's tallest Sardar Patel's ‘Statue of Unity’ at 183 metre, the height of the proposed Lord Ram statue in Ayodhya has also been increased to 151 metre.
Earlier, a 100 metre Lord Ram statue was proposed to be built in the temple town with public and private funds. However, the Yogi Adityanath government has decided to erect a much taller structure measuring 151 metres, which would propel it among the tallest statues in the league of ‘Statue of Unity’ and ‘Spring Temple Buddha’ statue in China, which measures 153 metres.
In fact, the state government had planned to lay the foundation of the Ram statue on the eve of Diwali this year, however, the proposal has been deferred to a future date, since various formalities and groundwork are still incomplete, a top level source told Business Standard.
In October 2017, the Adityanath government had announced to build a grandiose Lord Ram statue near the banks of river Saryu. The state solicited funds from private and public sector companies under corporate social responsibility (CSR) corpus for tourism projects, including the proposed statue. The ‘Statue of Unity’ in Gujarat also witnessed liberal doses of CSR funds from public sector enterprises (PSE).
In all, the UP government is eyeing CSR funding of Rs 27 billion for 85 tourism projects in 10 major towns, including Varanasi and Gorakhpur. Apart from Lord Ram statue, the corporate funds are being sought for the proposed New Ayodhya project.
Earlier, the New Ayodhya and Lord Ram statue projects were estimated to cost Rs 10 billion, however, with the increase in the size of statue, the project cost could get inflated.
Meanwhile, South Korean first lady Kim Jung-Sook will be the chief guest at the high octane ‘Deepotsav’ in Ayodhya next week. She is scheduled to tour India during November 4-7 and grace the ‘ground breaking’ ceremony of Queen Suriratna memorial in the temple town on November 6 (Tuesday).
Her presence is expected to boost thesocio-economicc ties between the two Asian economic power and give a leg up to UP’s efforts to promote religious tourism, especially in run up to the mega Kumbh Mela 2019 at Prayagraj (Allahabad).
Princess Suriratna (Queen Hur Hwang-ok) is believed to have travelled to Korea and married King Kim, also known as Hur Hwang-ok, in 48 AD. Many Koreans, including top ranking politicians, trace their roots to the royal couple and nurse a sentimental bond with Ayodhya.
Last year, Adityanath along with ministers had participated in a similar big ticket religious-cultural programme in Ayodhya on the Diwali eve, including lighting of thousands of diyas (earthen pots), performances by artistes from India and South East Asian countries, laser show themed on Hindu religious text Ramayan etc.