One of the longest running Ramleela performance in the world has been stopped for the first time in 9 years due to non-release of funds by the Uttar Pradesh government, an official said on Tuesday.
The Ramleela, being organised by the Ayodhya Research Institute, an autonomous body of the Uttar Pradesh culture department, has been stopped since Monday, he said.
"People work on credit. Due to lack of fund we have no other option but to stop all the activities of the ARI. The notice has been put up to inform the general public as people come to watch Ramleela every evening," ARI's director YP Singh said.
Interestingly, the event was started on May 20, 2004, when Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav was the then chief minister of the state. At present his son Akhilesh Yadav is heading the UP government.
Singh said that in the last fiscal, an installment of Rs. 90 lakh was not released and as a result all the activities, including staging of Ramleela, have been stopped.
"As the fund was not released the institute ran into dues of Rs. 80-90 lakh, including around rupees eight lakh of Ramleela. As the fiscal year ended on March 31 the second installment of the grant has also lapsed," he said.
The institute gets Rs. 2.73 crore annually from the state government for various activities, including research work, organising Ramleela and book publication, Singh said.
The Ramleela organised by ARI was the longest running stage show in the world, he claimed. "Till April 1 the Ramleela was being staged 365 days a year from the last nine years," he said.
Not only Ramleela, the Ram Katha, which was organised just before the start of Ramleela every day between 4pm to 5pm has also been discontinued, he said.