The state government of Rajasthan will seek central clearance under the Forest and Wildlife Acts for Bansi Paharpur block of Bharatpur’s Band Baretha wildlife sanctuary, so mining can be done and a special pink sandstone can be extracted from the area. This stone is needed to construct Ram temple in Ayodhya and therefore, the state has declared the matter of “highest priority.” It is to note that after 1989, more than 1 lakh cubic feet of Bansi Paharpur sandstone was stockpiled and sourced as the only material needed for construction of the much talked about temple, The IE reported.
Earlier in 2016, mining in the area was prohibited but illegal operations continued. After that, the sandstone was transported and sold in the grey market. On September 7 this year, a stop was put to this with the Bharatpur administration seizing 25 trucks that were loaded with illegally mined pink sandstone.
A regional spokesperson Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in Ayodhya, Sharad Sharma said that the state should not block the supply of pink sandstone as the temple is being built in the nation’s interest. He added that any move that will help legalise the mines in Bansi Paharpur will be welcomed by the Parishad, according to the report. Apart from this, Rajasthan’s joint secretary (mines) O P Kasera on October 23 has asked the Director (Mines) to denotify the Bansi Paharpur block and apply for it on the Union Ministry’s Parivesh portal.
Meanwhile, Bharatpur District Magistrate Nathmal Didel is of the view that on papers, the use of pink sandstone for one particular purpose is not written. Right now, the stone is in demand across the country for various reasons. After the enotification application is filed, then the state forest department will come in and look into it for clearances, the report added.
The temple authorities highlighted that 40-45 per cent work has been completed for the ground floor. With the 1.1 lakh cubic feet of sandstone sourced earlier, the work has been going on, however, there is a need of another 3.5-4 lakh cubic feet of sandstone (estimated) for the temple expansion. As per the temple architects, this pink sandstone is one of a kind and mixing it with other varieties is not aesthetically feasible.