CM paid a visit to the Sant Ravidas Mandir in 2021
CM paid a visit to the Sant Ravidas Mandir in 2021

Sant Ravidas Temple Renovation Project left in Limbo: No-show by Invited Politicians Adds to Disappointment

Even after two years since the Chief Minister's visit, the pre-independence Ravidas Temple remains in need of renovation.

Uttar Pradesh— Ravidas Mandir is a historical building that has suffered commercialization. Bara Birwa was once a rural orchard in 1938 when the Ravidas Mandir was established by local villagers. Over time, the location transformed into a bustling commercial hub along the Lucknow-Kanpur road, having shed all remnants of its rural heritage. The site now boasts a bustling traffic and skyrocketing commercial value, with a prestigious five-star hotel, The Piccadily, situated across from it. Despite this, the Ravidas Math Complex, managed by the Sant Ravidas Sewa Samiti, still contains shops within its compound. Visitors to the complex are greeted by a statue of Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar at the entrance gate.However, the Ravidas Math Complex stands in stark contrast to the other commercially-driven structures in the vicinity and the adjacent five-star hotel. It is in dire need of a revitalization effort.

The president of the samiti with the Chief Minister
The president of the samiti with the Chief Minister

Unfulfilled renovation promises

In 2021, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made a surprise visit to the Ravidas Math Complex during the celebration of Ravidas Jayanti. He was accompanied by the then Jal Shakti Minister Dr. Mahendra Singh, the Mayor of Lucknow Sanyukta Bhatia, District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash, and other bureaucrats. During his visit, the Chief Minister made a public declaration for the renovation of the premises and tasked the local MLA, Suresh Chandra Tiwari, with presenting a proposal for its rejuvenation.

However, two years after the Chief Minister's announcement, the Samiti has yet to receive the promised funding for the renovation.

The announcement of renovation by the Chief Minister augured hope
The announcement of renovation by the Chief Minister augured hope

Discrepancies in budget estimate

According to Ramlal Khelawan, the president of the Samiti, the delay is due to discrepancies in the estimated cost of the project. The Public Works Department (PWD) initially estimated the cost at 1 crore 58 lakhs, while the Tourism Department estimated it to be 2 crore 58 lakhs. The latter declared that the funds would be provided by the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department, but an official has since requested for the Khasra Khatani (land record) and map. Despite providing this information, the Samiti has yet to receive the promised funds.

Ramlal Khelawan further adds that they have also approached the Social Justice Minister Asim Arun and the local MLA Rajeshwar Singh with the letter of approval, and also conveyed the situation to the Chief Minister. Despite several attempts to reach the Tourism Department, the Samiti has yet to receive any response.In their latest effort, the Samiti sent a letter to MLA Rajeshwar Singh, who in turn wrote to Tourism Minister Jaiveer Singh to bring attention to the delay in the renovation work.When contacted by The Mooknayak, Dinesh Kumar, Deputy Director of the Tourism Department, said that a project is only included in their scheme upon receiving directions from the administration. He went on to explain that the Ravidas Temple project is not part of their current fiscal year's scheme, which ends in March, and can only be considered for inclusion in the next fiscal year starting in April or May.

Absence of ministers sparks criticism

Additionally, the absence of prominent politicians on the occasion of Sant Ravidas Jayanti has sparked criticism and speculation among the attendees. Despite being invited, Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak, Social Justice Minister Asim Arun, and Member of Parliament Mithilesh Kumar Katheria were not present at the event held on February 4th. This notable absence has fueled rumors and raised questions among those in attendance.The absence of these high-level officials was a deviation from recent years, as the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath himself attended the Sant Ravidas Jayanti celebration in 2021 and in 2022, Keshav Prasad Maurya kept his commitment to attend the event.

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When asked about the non-attendance of the politicians who were members of the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party, President Ram Khelawan stated that Mithilesh Katheria had informed him that he had been sent to Uttarakhand and speculated that the other politicians may have been occupied elsewhere or sent on a mission by the Chief Minister.

It is evident that the proposed renovation project for the temple has been neglected by the administration, despite being publicly announced by the Chief Minister. The failure of the invited politicians and ministers to attend the Jayanti celebration has only compounded the dissatisfaction felt by the community.

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