Rajasthan approves 12 pink sandstone mines, to ensure supply for Ram Mandir
JAIPUR: The Rajasthan government has granted environmental approval to 12 mines in Bansi Paharpur area in Bharatpur district from where pink sandstone is being supplied for the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, officials said.
Environmental approval for another 12 mines will be granted by mid-July, officials said, which will ensure an adequate supply of stones for the temple construction.
According to officials, the state’s mines department had e-auctioned 41 mining plots in Banshi Paharpur area in November-December 2021.
“Now, 12 mining leaseholders can start mining by the end of this month, while the remaining leaseholders are likely to get environment clearance by the end of this month or on the first fortnight of July,” said additional chief secretary, mines, Subodh Agrawal.
With this, the stone will be legally available for other places including Ram Mandir and thousands of people in the area would get direct and indirect employment, he said.
In March 2021, Banshi Paharpur mining area, Block A and B, Sukhasila and Kot area were taken out of Bandh Baretha Wildlife Sanctuary area so that mining can be allowed there.
In June 2021, the union ministry of forest, environment and climate change gave approval for the diversion of forest land for the mining of sandstone in Banshi Paharpur. Thereafter, the state mines department started preparing mining blocks in Banshi Paharpur and started preparations for their auction.
Agrawal said chief minister Ashok Gehlot has directed them to make all possible efforts to stop illegal mining and allow only legal mining in Banshi Paharpur. As a result of it, the department started e-auction of 41 plots after the exclusion of this area from the wildlife sanctuary area and permission for diversion of the forest land.
The leaseholders of the mines are being contacted for red sandstone by people involved in Ram Mandir construction. “I have three mines in the area and was contacted recently by the people involved in acquiring stone for the Ram Mandir. The things are on hold till the operations start after inking an agreement with the government and permission from the pollution control department,” said Deepraj Singh, a mine owner at Banshi Paharpur.
Media reports claim that there is a shortage of pink sandstone being used for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. An office-bearer of Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust had said that 4.7 lakh cubic feet of pink stone will be used in the temple and only 70,000 cubic feet have reached Ayodhya so far.
With the environment approvals, the trust officials say that they would be getting a regular supply of the stone from Bansi Paharpur and it will speed up the construction work of Ram Temple at Ayodhya.
The first batch of pink sandstone from Bandi Paharpur had reached Ayodhya on April 5 and most of it was illegally mined. The sandstone will be used for the walls of the Ram Temple after the plinth work is completed by June end, Anil Mishra, one of the trustees of the Trust had told the media in April.
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