New Delhi: The Rajasthan government on Thursday sought for a special clearance from the central government to denotify a block at a wildlife sanctuary in the state’s Bharatpur to allow mining of the ‘Bansi Paharpur’ pink sandstone for the construction of the grand Ram temple in Ayodhya.Also Read - IRCTC Latest News: Railways Launches Rampath Yatra Express From Ayodhya to Pune | All You Need to Know About This New Train
According to a report by The Indian Express, the functionaries of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) warned the Congress government of blocking sandstone mining, after which the Ashok Gehlot administration immediately sought clearance from the Centre’s Forest and Wildlife Acts on “highest priority”. Also Read - Delhi Govt's First Train Carrying Senior Citizens to Ayodhya For Pilgrimage to Start on THIS Date
The mining department of Rajasthan, the Bharatpur district administration and the police had earlier issued a mining ban at Bansi Paharpur after receiving information about illegal mining, causing hurdles in the construction of the Ram temple that has sourced more than 1 lakh cubic feet of this unique sandstone to get the desired beautiful pink shade. Also Read - Diwali 2021: Ayodhya Enters Guinness World Record on Deepotsav By Lighting 9 Lakh Diyas
While the 199-sq-km Band Baretha wildlife sanctuary was notified in 1985, sandstone mines have been operational in the area since the 1960s.
On paper, mining for the Bansi Paharpur sandstone has been banned since 2016. However, illegal occupations continued and the pink stone kept being available in the grey market, the Express report stated.
“Illegal mining has been rampant as our pink sandstone fetches more — Rs 500 per cubic feet — than the red sandstone of Dholpur. Be it the elephant statues all over Uttar Pradesh or the Ram temple, this is the stone in demand,” said Dilip Singh Rathore told The Indian Express.
“We wanted the Congress government in Rajasthan to understand that building the temple is the nation’s work. A solution has been found every time an obstruction came in its way. We will welcome any move to legalise the Bansi Paharpur mines,” Sharad Sharma, VHP’s regional spokesperson in Ayodhya, told The Indian Express.
In February 2020, PM Narendra Modi had announced the constitution of Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra, to oversee the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya and the construction of the grand temple began on August 20.