Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath highlighted the provision to set aside Rs 100 crore for preparations for the 2025 Maha Kumbh soon after the 2022-23 annual Budget was tabled in the Assembly. The Rs 6-lakh-crore Budget’s religious, regional, and cultural focus was evident as Adityanath highlighted the government’s aim to present the upcoming Maha Kumbh as the biggest “spiritual and cultural gathering”. The Budget made provisions for infrastructure and amenities in Kashi, Ayodhya, Vindhya, and Chitrakoot Dham and the welfare of elderly priests. It also approved Rs 50 lakh to develop an online integrated information system for temples.
The government has provided Rs 500 crore to the Public Works Department for the construction of roads for a hassle-free darshan of the Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga in Varanasi and the development of Surya Kund in Ayodhya.
Adityanath also said the government had provided for the formation of a board for the welfare of elderly priests, integrated online system for temples, and international airport in Ayodhya, in line with the BJP’s promises ahead of the 2022 Assembly polls.
He also highlighted how footfall at Kashi Vishwanath Dham had surged following its renovation, adding that there was a need to develop more facilities. Over 1 lakh pilgrims visit the Vishwanath temple daily. Considering the volume of pilgrims in Varanasi, the government has made provisions for a ropeway and metro in the city, Adityanath said.
The Budget has also provided Rs 77 crore to expand the approach road from the banks of Ganga to Kashi Vishwanath Dham. It has provided another Rs 25 crore to set up the Sant Ravidas Museum and Cultural Centre in Varanasi. Another Rs 100 crore has been set aside for the beautification of tourism facilities in Varanasi.
Ayodhya also received equal attention in the Budget document. Adityanath told the Assembly that the Budget had made provisions to develop the Maryada Purushottam Sri Ram International Airport in Ayodhya. An additional Rs 300 crore has been earmarked for an approach road to the Ram Janmabhumi site. The Budget has also provided Rs 209.70 core for Ayodhya’s infrastructure development, including construction of parking lots and public amenities.
Rs 100 crore has been provided for the beautification of tourism facilities in Ayodhya, similar to Kashi Vishwanath Dham.
The housing sector has been provided Rs 140 crore for the city’s overall development, especially building a Surya Kund. The works department has been granted Rs 500 crore to develop a four-lane model road from Rajghat bridge to Ramnagar, opposite the Ganga ghat.
The government is focussed on developing the other dhams — Rs 3.50 crore has been earmarked for the Vindhya Dham Teerth Vikas Parishad and Rs 3.50 crore for Chitrakoot Dham Pilgrimage Development. Most of the major new provisions in tourism are for urban religious centres.