The coronavirus pandemic seems to have affected donations to the Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirath Kshetra Trust, which was constituted by the Centre for the construction of Ram temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya.
Devotees have donated around Rs 4.70 crore solar through online transfers in two bank accounts in the State Bank of India’s main branch in Ayodhya opened in March. One of them has around Rs 2 crore and the remaining amount is in another.
“The trust has received donations of around Rs 4.70 crore till date. Once the construction work of the Ram Mandir begins, donations will increase,” a member of the trust, who did not want to be named, said.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has said donations made to the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra are eligible for deduction under Section 80G of Income Tax Act, 1961.
“The trust and the VHP are optimistic that once the coronavirus scare subsides and the bhoomi pujan at Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya takes place for the construction of Ram Mandir, the focus will again shift to the temple,” Sharad Sharma, regional spokesperson of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expected to take part in the bhumi pujan or ground laying ceremony in Ayodhya in April but the ceremony was deferred due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, the much-awaited ceremony is expected only after the lockdown is lifted and the virus scare subsides.
The trust also has Rs 12 crore as fixed deposit in another bank, which it received from the former receiver of the Ram Janmabhoomi after its formation.
It has also received some gold ornaments from the receiver and Rs 1 crore from the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, which spearheaded the Ram Mandir movement across the country since the 1990s.
However, these have not yet been transferred in the two current accounts of the new trust.
The Supreme Court had appointed divisional commissioner of Ayodhya, formerly known as Faizabad, as the receiver of the Ram Janmabhoomi.
However, after the formation of the new trust, divisional commissioner MP Agarwal handed over the charge to Ayodhya Naresh Vimlendra Mohan Pratap Mishra, a member of the trust.
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