Yogi Adityanath

Yogi Adityanath-led UP government has set up a seven-member team to acquire land for a proposed project in the surrounding areas of Ram Janmabhoomi. The announcement has come even before the centre forming a trust for the construction of Ram mandir, as per the directions given by the Supreme Court.

According to a Times of India report, the project is named as 'Project Ayodhya' and was cleared almost a week before the apex court ruled the judgment in favour of Ram Janmabhoomi.

Earlier this month, former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi dismissed the appeal of the Shia Waqf Board and ruled that the land belongs to the government as per revenue records. The SC further ordered the land to be handed over to a trust to build the Hindu temple. The apex court also ordered the government to give an alternate five-acre land to build the mosque.

Project Ayodhya is aimed at building a 202-metre-tall statue of Lord Ram, an interpretation centre, a library, a food plaza and a parking centre. Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh has set aside 447 crores for the project. Just a day before the Ayodhya verdict was delivered by the SC, the UP government appointed UP Tourism as the nodal agency for identification of the land for this mega project.

No priests or members of civil society on the panel

The seven-member committee includes the director and chief architect of UP, Rajkiya Nirman Nigam, and the chief engineer of the irrigation department, among other members. Further, to ensure that the land acquisition does not get engaged in any legal battle, a legal representative has also been included in the panel.

As per the order, "A district administration advocate (civil) in Ayodhya will be part of this committee." Notably, the government has not included anyone from civil society and priests for the project.

supreme court
The Supreme Court of IndiaReuters

The UP government seems to be unfazed by the fact that seven of the 10 litigants from the Muslim side have announced that they will seek a review petition and have gone ahead with constituting the committee. One of the petitioners in the Ayodhya land case, Hizbullah, said: "We are doing whatever we want legally in SC. The government is free to initiate any beautification project."