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In Pics: UP budget heritage plan skips Taj Mahal

Yogi Adityanath’s government released its first budget on Tuesday with many of they state’s cultural and heritage sites including the Taj Mahal finding no mention.

lucknow Updated: Jul 12, 2017 14:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
UP Budget,yogi adityanath,taj mahal
The Taj Mahal seen in the backdrop as a congregation offers Eid prayers in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. The 16th-century monument draws millions of tourists from across the globe and earns the government crores in revenue annually.(Pawan Sharma / AP)

Finance minister Rajesh Agarwal who presented the budget for 2017-2018, invoked Lord Ram, said that the budget aims to connect the youth with places of cultural and historical importance.

“Our state has been a carrier of ancient cultural heritage. But our younger generation is gradually distancing itself from the places of cultural and historical importance. Our government has formulated schemes for maintenance of places of cultural and historical importance to promote tourism,” said Agarwal.

Temples and residential buildings are seen on the banks of the river Ganga in Varanasi. A number of schemes were announced for Hindu pilgrimage towns of Ayodhya, Varanasi, Mathura and Chitrakoot. ( REUTERS )

The budget marks launch of ‘Swadesh Darshan Yojana’ with an allocation of Rs 1,240 crore focusing on the Ramayana Circuit, the Buddhist Circuit and the Krishna Circuit.

The budget saw the exclusion of icons such as the Taj Mahal from sites that connote historical and cultural importance, triggering criticism. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has often pointed out that the Taj Mahal, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, did not reflect India’s ancient culture. ( Shutterstock )

No mention has been made of Taj Mahal or Fatehpur Sikri in the special section ‘Hamari Sanskritik Virasat’ (Our Cultural Heritage) incorporated in the finance minister’s 63-page budget speech.

Eid-ul-fitr congregation in the lawns of the Bara Imambara in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. ( Subhankar Chakraborty / HT Photo )
People climb the steps of the Buland Darwaza in Fatehpur Sikri, a UNESCO World Heritage site and considered the first planned city built by the Mughals in India. ( Shutterstock )

A commitment has been made to hold ‘Lok Malhar’ and ‘Savan Jhula’ programmes in Gorakhpur and Ayodhya. Special places for rendering ‘bhajans’ (religious songs) will be constructed in Ayodhya and Chitrakoot.

People cross the historic Rumi Darwaza in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. ( Subhankar Chakraborty / HT Photo )

Also missing from the budget are spheres of environmental conservation such as the Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary, Katarniaghat, Dudhwa and the Uttar Pradesh section of the Chambal sanctuaries. These sites are host to several rare species of plant and animal life.

A view of the entrance to the Agra Fort, also a World Heritage site and the residence of Mughal emperors before the capital shifted to Delhi in 1638. ( Shutterstock )

The Samajwadi Party was quick to react calling the ‘budget bhashan’ (budget speech) a ‘bhajan bhashan’ (budget speech is like singing of religious songs) with the SP national spokesperson Ghanshyam Tiwari saying the state would not be able to achieve even 5% growth rate with Yogi government’s budget.

First Published: Jul 12, 2017 14:57 IST