By Ajit Chak: The voters in Uttar Pradesh are confused, they haven’t been this confused in the last 20 years and the reason for their confusion is the steps the government of the day is taking. For one thing it does not fit in with the role models they had in their minds. These role models were of politicians moving around in convoys of black Tata Safaris all bearing the same number plate with hundreds of gun toting commandos in tow. There were supposed to be popular announcements, more holidays, less hours of work and more allowances. Then there are other issues relating to the construction sector for example. There is no party oriented activity for promotion of party symbols and no agenda for any particular section of society.
There are no statues of elephants being carved out, no cycle tracks being built and no lotus farms either. There is no frenzied agenda to build temples all over the state either. On the other hand the orders that are being passed are strange and the common man does not seem to understand them either.
While a large majority appreciates what is going on a certain section of society is failing to fathom several things. For one corrupt and loaded officers had become role models for the young in the state and people are failing to understand why they are now being arrested and their illegal properties are being confiscated.
Holidays are being cut down and the number of days a child has to go to school is being increased, similarly there is a stress on punctuality in offices and officers are being asked for explanations when they come late to office. Something unheard of in previous regimes. Moreover there is a ban on tobacco products in government offices too.
The orders coming from the chief minister are more in the form of betterment of the public and have little to do with the concerns of the party.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered for better roads, public toilets, rest houses, and so on in several small towns and one of them includes Ayodhya which was in the news recently when the Supreme Court reopened the Babri case against senior BJP leaders L K Advani, Uma Bharti and others.
While all other cities except Ayodhya can be taken care off with generalised orders the problems in Ayodhya are unique and the reason for their uniqueness is the government’s inability to link anything happening in Ayodyha with employment generation. One of the biggest disasters in Ayodhya today is the Ram Ki Pauri or the artificial lake made in the centre of the city during the regime of the Congress Party chief minister Sri Pati Misra in the early 1980s. This issue needs to be addressed in detail as similar planning by government departments in Ayodhya could derail the entire effort.
Ayodhya has an effective radius of two kilometres and only two dharamshalas in the name of accommodation for tourists. For one campuses need to be created for tourists to visit to extend the radius of Ayodyha to create space for proper accommodation for tourists. Moreover the focus has to be on employment generation so that all activities are linked to revenue and are planned like projects with a return of investments.
Yogi Adityanath has told his officers that they must restart the traditional and famous Ram Leela that was enacted in Ayodhya for several decades but came to end abruptly some years back. However had the Ram Lila been self supporting and a property that could take care of its own expenses it would not be in a state of limbo today so there has to be a concerted effort and proper facilities put in place for the Ayodhya Ram Lila to make it a status symbol for people from all walks of life to attend. This will require both infrastructure creation and event management expertise.
Take the Ram ki Pauri it was ill conceived in the first place and unlike the Har ki Pauri which was based on the natural flow of water a system of pump sets was used to pump in and pump out water from the area. Today it simply does not live up to expectations of those who built it.
The Temple Town attracts tourists but there are no facilities for the tourists, no places to rest and no places to eat properly. The result the tourist flow is just not linked to employment generation is a city where the youth desperately need employment. The tourists who come unlike the tourists in Agra and Varanasi do not have the capacity to pay either. It is a catch 22 situation.
To develop Ayodhya more than just Tourism efforts are needed. For one the effort has to be between several department and the spirit of Ayodhya has to restored with the synergy of several departments.
Why can’t Ayodhya have a national level sports academy where martial arts, archery, fencing, horse riding and shooting are taught and an institute built to teach the arts that Lord Rama and his brother Laxmana were experts in?
Can Ayodhya like Rae Bareli have a Pushpak Vimana flying Academy where helicopter and airline pilots are trained and a training airport to go with it? The Yogi Government has to take a call on it. Last but not least, can it create a campus where people can stay and learn – especially foreign tourists in winter – the values that Rama and Laxmana and Bharat and Shatrughana stood for? After all if Baba Ramdev can do it then why not Adityanath?