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.
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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