New Delhi: The ‘bhoomi pujan’ of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya will get further delayed as Prime Minister Narendra Modi hasn’t yet responded to the letter written by saints last week, urging him to visit the city and perform the ceremony.
If the ceremony does not take place until the first week of August, it will be delayed until October.
“We haven’t received a reply from the prime minister. … During the Shravan month, bhoomi pujan work can be carried out. If it is not done during this period, then it will be done around October,” said Kamal Nayan Das, who is the spokesperson of the president of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirtha Kshetra trust, which was set up to oversee the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.
Earlier, it was expected the construction of the Ram Temple will begin on 6 July.
On 2 July, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the president of the trust, had written to PM Modi, requesting him to visit Ayodhya and carry out the ‘bhoomi pujan’ to start the construction work at the Ram Mandir site. He had said they would ensure there is no overcrowding and that social distancing is maintained.
The other members of the trust include former principal secretary to PM Nripendra Mishra, additional Union Home Secretary Gyanesh Kumar and Uttar Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Awasthi.
A member of the trust, who didn’t want to be named, told ThePrint if PM Modi is unable to come to Ayodhya physically, they could explore the alternative of holding a video conference.
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Decision on construction date to be taken up
Meanwhile, a VHP source told ThePrint the crucial decision on when to start the construction of Ram Mandir is likely to be taken up on 18 July during a meeting of the trust.
“The meeting of the trust will be on 18 July. A discussion on when to start the construction work will be taken up. Trustees will be in Ayodhya from 16 July onwards. Nripendra Mishra will also stay over to carry out more discussions. He will look into all aspects that are significant for starting the construction such as technical issues, layout etc,” added the source.
Besides Mishra, the source said, the chairman of the Ram Temple Construction Committee, which functions under the trust, and other members of the trust are likely to stay in Ayodhya from 16 July onward to take stock of the situation. They are also likely to interact with the Ayodhya saints.
Another source in the VHP told ThePrint that it seems unlikely that construction work will start any time soon as coronavirus cases have been continuously increasing, and bringing in labourers to carry out the work may not be a good idea, which can push the ‘bhoomi pujan’ to October.
Currently, the work on soil testing and levelling of the land is under way.
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