Varanasi, Oct 10 Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik today said grand celebrations are planned for Diwali in Ayodhya this time but was not aware of the plans of the Yogi Adiyanath government to install a statue of Lord Rama on the banks of Saryu river.
A grand "aarti" of river Saryu will also be performed by the chief minister and the governor and a laser show will be held on the banks of the river.
The statue is part of "Navya Ayodhya" project that is seen an initiative by the Uttar Pradesh government to promote religious tourism.
The communique stated that the statue will be build at Saryughat after clearance from the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
"The statue will be installed only after clearance from the National Green Tribunal", Principal Secretary Tourism Awanish Awasthi said.More news: Police Issue Warrant for Black Man Beaten at Virginia Rally
The Express added that the presentation made to Naik also included information on the programmes scheduled for Diwali celebrations in Ayodhya on October 18. UP Governor Ram Naik will also attend, as will union Tourism Minister KJ Alphonse and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma."Ayodhya has its importance, we can not neglect that".
While the Adityanath government's stated objective behind the installation of the grand Lord Ram statue may be to promote Ayodhya as a religious tourism destination, the obviously political motivations behind the move can not be discounted. The Adityanath government had reportedly sent a detailed project report outlining these proposals for the integrated development of Ayodhya to the Union ministry of tourism and sought funds worth Rs 195.89 crore. A "deepotsav" will be organized on "Ram Ki Paidi" where 1.71 lakh earthen lamps will be lit, he said while giving a presentation to governor Ram Naik on Monday.
The government, amid the ever-present Ram Janmabhoomi debate, is now planning the statue not far from the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.
Prominent building and ghats will also be illuminated to attract tourists. Of this, Rs 133.70 crore has been sanctioned by the Union government.
During the programme, Ramlila will be staged by artistes from Indonesia and Thailand. A Ram Katha gallery, an auditorium in Digambar Akhada are also part government's plan.