Haryana religious leader Rampal’s under-construction ashram in Madhya Pradesh’s Betul wears a deserted look. All lies silent, but for the traders who supplied building material for the ashram.
Restless to settle their payments, they have made several visits to the construction site. The suppliers have, however, not been successful as those overseeing the construction have stopped visiting the site, according to ashram employees who, too, await their payments.
Raju Nagpure, a person employed at the sprawling site, said most of those who worked with him had not been paid for the past two months. Another employee, Chandrashekhar Sahu, said he would be forced to quit if he was not paid soon.
Rampal, who was arrested last Wednesday after a stand-off of nearly 10 days and violent clashes between his supporters and security forces, is currently in police custody in Haryana following court orders.
The under-construction ashram is situated along the National Highway 69, around 9km from the Betul district headquarters. Spread over an area of around 50 acre, the incomplete ashram was meant to accommodate as many as 50,000 people at a time for sermons and other religious gatherings.
When contacted, the suppliers refused to comment, fearing further delay in their payments.
Additional superintendent of police of Betul, Geetesh Garg, said the local police had informed the Haryana police about the under-construction ashram and urged them to expand the scope of their probe to Betul.