In UP Budget, the lion’s share is reserved for religious and cultural projects in Kashi, Ayodhya, Vindhya, Chitrakoot

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath pointed to the provision to earmark Rs 100 crore for Maha Kumbh 2025 preparations soon after tabling of the 2022-23 annual budget in the Assembly. The religious, regional and cultural focus of the Rs 6-lakh-crore budget was evident as Adityanath highlighted the government’s aim to showcase the upcoming Maha Kumbh as the greatest ‘spiritual and cultural gathering’. The budget provided for infrastructure and amenities in Kashi, Ayodhya, Vindhya and Chitrakoot Dham and the welfare of elderly priests. It has also approved Rs 50 lakh to develop an online integrated information system for temples.

The government has provided Rs 500 crore to the Public Works Department for hassle-free road construction. darshan of Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga in Varanasi and the development of Surya Kund in Ayodhya.

Adityanath also said that the government has planned the formation of a council for the welfare of elderly priests, an integrated online system for temples and Ayodhya International Airport, as promised by the BJP before the elections of 2022 in the Assembly.

He also pointed to the increase in attendance at Kashi Vishwanath Dham after its renovation, adding that there is a need to develop more facilities. More than one million pilgrims visit Vishwanath Temple daily. Considering the volume of pilgrims in Varanasi, the government has made arrangements for a cable car and metro in the city, Adityanath said.

The budget also provided Rs 77 crore to extend the access road from the banks of the Ganges to Kashi Vishwanath Dham. He provided another Rs 25 crore to set up the Sant Ravidas Museum and Cultural Center in Varanasi. Another Rs 100 crore has been set aside for the beautification of tourist facilities in Varanasi.

Ayodhya also received equal attention in the budget document. Adityanath told the Assembly that the budget made provisions to develop Maryada Purushottam Sri Ram International Airport in Ayodhya. An additional Rs 300 crore has been earmarked for an access road to the Ram Janmabhumi site. The budget also provided basic Rs 209.70 for the development of Ayodhya’s infrastructure, including the construction of parking lots and public facilities.

Rs 100 crore was provided for beautification of tourist facilities in Ayodhya similar to Kashi Vishwanath Dham.

The housing sector received Rs 140 crore for the overall development of the city, especially the construction of a Surya Kund. The works department has received Rs 500 crore to develop a model four-lane road from Rajghat Bridge to Ramnagar, opposite the Ganga ghat.

The government focuses on the development of others dhams – Rs 3.50 crore has been reserved for the Vindhya Dham Teerth Vikas Parishad and Rs 3.50 crore for the development of the Chitrakoot Dham pilgrimage. Most of the major new tourism provisions relate to urban religious centres.

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