Yogi Adityanath Wants Corporates To Fund Rs 330 Crore Ram Statue In Ayodhya

The UP government says it's not the first time something like this is being attempted.

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The 100-metre tall statue of Lord Ram is a pet project of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath


For a 100-metre tall statue of Lord Ram by the river Saryu, a pet project of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the Uttar Pradesh government wants private companies to spend almost hundreds of crores from their CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility budgets. 

The cost of the Ram statue is a staggering Rs 330 crore.

A booklet by UP's tourism department released 10 days ago and titled "Opportunities of investment under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Tourism Sector", showcases similar plans for 86 tourism projects in cities like Ayodhya, Varanasi - Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency - and Gorakhpur.

The plan has sparked a political row.
 
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The cost of the Ram statue on the banks of river Saryu is a staggering Rs 330 crore.

"Ultimately business houses get tax exemptions under CSR, so it's the common man who is paying for these statues. You have a big party, why not ask for money directly from them Yogiji?  CSR funds, in my understanding, are not meant for this purpose but Yogiji is redefining social responsibility each day," said Juhi Singh, spokesperson of the Samajwadi Party. "In the past, such funds have been used for schools, for the welfare of women and children," she added.

The UP government says it's not the first time something like this is being attempted.

India's leading public sector oil companies contributed over Rs 121 crore towards the 'Statue of Unity', a giant statue of Sardar Patel in Gujarat as part of their CSR spend in 2017, said a Livemint report.

Asked whether corporate spending on a Lord Ram statue instead of critical infrastructure like hospitals is justified, state Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi says: "CSR funds are not limited. We can only appeal to the private sector. We can't force them. It's not religious tourism. Take it as an attempt to create jobs. Tell me one business house that doesn't invest in temples. All political leaders go to temples, show me one who doesn't."


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