NEW DELHI: The BJP-led Centre is moving swiftly to realise the party’s other major project for Ayodhya — setting up the Ram-Ramayana museum in Ayodhya — about 15 km from the main site. Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma on Tuesday met Yogi Adityanath here to finalise plans for setting up the museum.
The state government is expected to allocate about 25 acres for the Ram Museum within the next few days. The culture ministry’s museum project was held up so far by the previous Samajwadi Party dispensation in Uttar Pradesh.
“Yes, I met the chief minister. He has assured that the museum project will move ahead at once. We expect a resolution of all outstanding issues over it and other culture and tourism ministry issues in the state within the next 7-10 days. We had already allocated over 150 crore for the project and we can start as soon as land is made available, ” culture minister Mahesh Sharma told ET.
While staying clear of the disputed site in Ayodhya, where Lord Ram is said to have been born, the government has been planning to develop all other Ram-related sites in and around Ayodhya.
The state-of-the-art museum, retelling the various versions Ramayana, will be at the core of the project. The culture ministry to also bring in related archaeological material, if any, to the museum to draw more tourist and pilgrims.
It was originally envisaged that the Ram-Ramayana museum would be modelled around the Akshardham temple in Delhi with a host of cultural activities built around it.
The Centre had last year set up the Ramayana Circuit National Committee that will be chaired by Dr Ram Avtar Sharma who heads the Shri Ram Sanskritik Shodh Sansthan Nyas. This committee will also work closely to help set up the Ram museum.
Sharma had set alarm bells ringing in UP after he visited a site for the museum in Ayodhya in October-November 2016. The state government responded by not allocating the 25 acres land identified for the museum or allowing the Centre to purchase the land.
The Akhilesh Yadav government countered the centre’s move with its own proposal for a Ramlila Theme Park instead. None of the projects finally could take off before the state went to polls this year.
A slew of culture and tourism projects planned in and around the PM’s constituency Varanasi stuck allegedly due to the non-cooperation of the previous Samajwadi Party government are also on the priority list, with Yogi Adityanath at the helm in Lucknow.