The announcement was made on Thursday after a two-day meeting of the 15-member Trust, which is overseeing the construction of the temple.

The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has announced that the sanctum sanctorum of the Ram temple being constructed in Ayodhya will be opened to devotees by 2023-end.

The announcement was made on Thursday after a two-day meeting of the 15-member Trust, which is overseeing the construction of the temple. The meeting was chaired by Trust chief Nripendra Misra, a former principal secretary of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Trust general secretary Champat Rai told reporters in Ayodhya, “In the last two days, we have discussed that the devotees should be allowed to have darshan of ‘Bhagwaan’ before the end of 2023. Where the sanctum sanctorum is supposed to be built, God’s sthapana [installation] will be done and devotees will be allowed there. The whole construction will be done in a way that it is eco-friendly…”

He added, “With respect to security, the whole premises is important. Hence, construction work in the part outside the temple should not be obstructed. A broad outline will be created under which we will allow devotees in the temple by 2023, and by the end of 2025, the whole 70 acres will be developed completely.”

On early access to the construction site for the media, Rai said, “On August 5 last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi did pooja for starting the construction work of the temple. On August 5 this year, we will discuss with security officials if you can see the working site and how machines are working, how the filling is being done, and how roller compaction is being done. We will discuss this with security officials and will inform you. We have suggested a route that people can take to a point from where they can be shown the construction site. Whatever is required for security can be done so you can record with your cameras. We have proposed this and all engineers have agreed to this.”

The Trust official also spoke about how the focus was on not inconveniencing the city during the construction. “There will be high usage of water inside and that should not impact water usage outside. And if a sewage line is drawn inside then that should not harm the sewage lines outside. Hence, we have decided to give 100 per cent to sewage treatment and water treatment. Who will do it was also discussed. Conservation of trees was also talked about and that temperature is maintained,” said Rai.

He added, “We are also preparing the time frame here – that which work has to be finished when, where will material for the different works come from, when it will come, where it will be kept on the [temple] premises… All such issues are discussed by engineers, architects… Another thing that is discussed is that any policy for something inside the temple premises should not become an obstacle for the rest of Ayodhya.”

The Trust general secretary said the organisation had received enough funds from India, and for now, as per rules, it cannot apply for Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) approval.

Rai said three walls would be built to save the temple from rainwater. “The retaining walls will be built in three directions, and the directions and distance of the walls have been decided. The three types of stone, their quantity retaining walls, which will go 12 metres in the ground. All this was discussed and decisions were made,” he added.

To help elderly people and people with physical disabilities access the temple, elevators will be built. Rai said the Trust also discussed how the usage of cement could be reduced since it creates heat. “We have also discussed reducing the usage of bricks, and instead use stones.”

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