'VHP to enlist 5 lakh volunteers in Karnataka for Ram Mandir fundraising'

Kumar said a committee called Sri Ram Mandir Nidhi Samarpan Abhiyan Samiti has been formed in the state to oversee the fund collection drive
Last Updated 22 December 2020, 12:50 IST

The VHP will rope in over five lakh volunteers to start a door-to-door fundraising drive in Karnataka from January 15 to February 27 next year to build a grand Sri Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the outfit's international working president Alok Kumar said on Tuesday.

Addressing reporters here, he said, "We are going to form a lakh groups comprising volunteers who will go to 27,500 villages in the state and will be able to contact 90 lakh 'devotees' for obtaining the 'Nidhi Samarpan' (fund for temple)."

Laying out plans for fundraising, Kumar said a committee called Sri Ram Mandir Nidhi Samarpan Abhiyan Samiti has been formed in the state to oversee the fund collection drive. According to Kumar, RSS functionary N Thippeswamy will be the secretary of the Karnataka Samiti.

There will be a committee of saints to guide the Samiti. Kumar further said the fund would be collected through tokens of Rs 10, Rs 100, Rs 1,000. For those who donate more than Rs 2,000, there will be a receipt. These donations will be exempted under 80G of the Income Tax Act.

The VHP president said every group will consist of five persons who will hand over money to the depositor, who will deposit the entire money within 48 hours in designated bank accounts.

"Every depositor will have a registered code number at the nearest branch of one of the three banks namely State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Punjab National Bank. Full transparency would be maintained in the collection," he added.

On the temple project, Kumar said Larsen and Toubro is building the temple on a turn-key basis whereas Tata Consultancy would be the engineers for the construction. He noted that there was a challenge facing the engineers as the temple was coming up adjacent to the perennial Sarayu river and there is sand to the depth of 60 to 70 ft.

The three-storey stone structure with an estimated life of 1,000 years will be built without using cement and iron rods. "For the stability of the structure, engineers from IIT Mumbai, IIT Delhi, IIT Chennai, IIT Guwahati, CBRI Roorkee, Larsen & Toubro are working on the foundation drawing," he explained.

According to him, the temple made of stone blocks would have a total area of 2.7 acres. The construction area is 57,400 sq. ft. The length of the shrine would be 360 feet with 235 feet. It would be a three-storied structure with 5 mandaps.

It is expected that by 2024 Shri Ram Lala, the idol of Lord Rama, shall be established in the sanctum sanctorum of the main temple. Along with the temple, there will be several other projects spread over 108 acres, Kumar said adding that all of them will be of world standard and marvellous in all aspects.

He underlined that the VHP does not consider it as yet another temple but a medium of social, religious, and spiritual rejuvenation. "We want to abolish all the differences related to caste, region, and linguistics with this temple to build a harmonious society...," Kumar said.

He added that the VHP will not be collecting money from any government, municipal corporation or any public body. Observing that funds will be collected from the Hindu community, he appealed to the people to donate generously. "We will heartily accept a charity of even Rs 10 and Rs 100," the VHP president said.

On August 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had performed the 'bhoomi pujan' of a Supreme Court-mandated Ram temple in Ayodhya, bringing to fruition the BJP's 'mandir' movement that defined its politics for three decades and took it to the heights of power.

On November 9, 2019, the SC settled the fractious issue going back more than a century and backed the construction of a Ram temple by a trust at the disputed site. It also ruled that an alternative five-acre plot must be found for a mosque in the Hindu holy town.

(Published 22 December 2020, 10:13 IST)

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