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Must for Ayodhya's Ram Temple, This Unique Pink Standstone Forces Rajasthan to Free Sanctuary Land

Representational Image

Representational Image

The functionaries of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had recently warned the Congress government against blocking of the standstone, soon after which the state government sought a clearance from Centre on 'highest priority'.

A block at a wildlife sanctuary in Rajasthan's Bharatpur is set to be denotified to allow mining of its unique pink sandstone. This sandstone has been sourced as the exclusive material for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. The functionaries of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had recently warned the Congress government against blocking of this standstone, soon after which the state government sought a clearance from Centre on "highest priority".

According to a report in Indian Express, over 1 lakh cubic feet of the standstone found in Bansi Paharpur block of Bharatpur's Band Baretha wildlife sanctuary has been sourced for the temple, where stockpiling of stones began soon after the shilanyas in 1989.

The report stated that although on paper no mining was allowed after 2016, illegal operations continued — and the Bansi Paharpur sandstone remained available in the grey market. However, the supply has apparently dried up since the Bharatpur administration seized 25 trucks loaded with illegally mined pink sandstone in Bansi Paharpur on September 7.

After the raid, functionaries of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in Ayodhya warned against blocking the supply of pink sandstone. "We wanted the Congress government in Rajasthan to understand that building the temple is the nation’s work. A solution has been found every time an obstruction came in its way. We will welcome any move to legalise the Bansi Paharpur mines,” Sharad Sharma, VHP's regional spokesperson in Ayodhya, was quoted as saying by IE.

In a communication marked "most urgent" on October 23, Rajasthan's joint secretary (mines) O P Kasera asked the Director, Mines, to apply for denotifying the Bansi Paharpur block on the Union Ministry's Parivesh portal as a matter of "highest priority". Kasera declined to comment on what prompted the state government's move.

Asked if the mines were being legalised to facilitate the supply of pink sandstone to Ayodhya, Bharatpur District Magistrate Nathmal Didel said, “There is nothing in writing on supplying stone for any particular” purpose. “This stone is in high demand all over the country, and the decision has been taken after a joint survey by the revenue, mines and forest departments,” he said.

While the 199-sq-km Band Baretha wildlife sanctuary was notified in 1985, sandstone mines have been operational in the area since the 1960s. "Illegal mining has been rampant as our pink sandstone fetches more — Rs 500 per cubic feet — than the red sandstone of Dholpur. Be it the elephant statues all over Uttar Pradesh or the Ram temple, this is the stone in demand," Dilip Singh Rathore, who claimed he owns the only "legal mine which was forced to shut down in 2016 due to the ban", was quoted as saying.

Champat Rai, the general secretary of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra trust and a senior functionary of the VHP, said the country's best minds from IIT-Chennai and the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) are involved in the construction process of the temple.

While Larsen & Toubro is broadly looking after the construction of temple, IIT-Chennai has been consulted for testing soil strength and CBRI services are being used to make sure the building is earthquake-resistant, he told reporters here. Around 10,000 copper rods are required for building the temple. Since people want to be a part of the construction process, they can do so by donating copper, Rai said.

Using only stones, it will be built in such a manner that decay due to air, sun and water will not happen and temple will last for at least 1,000 years, he added.


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