Troubles brew in Sri Krishna land over the proposed corridor

Vrindavan: Hundreds of Sri Krishna devotees in Vrindavan have sent out missives written in blood to prime minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to protest the construction of a corridor to the famous Bankey Bihari temple. Pandas and priests of various temples in Goverdhan and Mathura have also joined the protest.

The protesters said they would intensify the stir if a consensus on this sensitive issue was not reached. The Allahabad high court is to consider a petition on January 24, filed by Anant Sharma. The Supreme Court too will hear a petition on January 23 on the Vrindavan corridor issue.

Heritage conservationists have objected to the plan to demolish old houses and temples in the vicinity of the Bankey Bihari temple. They say the narrow lanes "Kunj Galis" are an essential feature of the Vrindavan heritage. Any plan to concretize, modernize or urbanize the holy town would destroy its basic character, says Jagan Nath Poddar, convener of the Braj Vrindavan Heritage Alliance.

After two pilgrims died in a stampede for more than six months, the UP state government responded promptly by constituting a committee to suggest ways to decongest the temple area and streamline the mobility plan in Vrindavan. The committee submitted a plan for a corridor after acquiring around five acres of private land around the temple. Two weeks ago the district administration identified around 300 properties that would need to be demolished to make way for a spacious corridor on the lines of the Kashi and Ujjain corridors that have been widely welcomed.

District authorities in Mathura said that an Rs.200 crore plan for the corridor had been submitted to the state government. District magistrate Anunay Khare had constituted an 8-member committee headed by the municipal corporation commissioner to draw up the plan of action.

The Yogi government has taken the initiative to facilitate the movement of the pilgrims and make their stay memorable by providing required amenities, supporters of the Corridor plan say. Local MP and actor Hema Malini has been working hard to develop the Shri Krishna-Radha shrines of the Braj Mandal. Another plan being hotly discussed is to provide an elevated access road direct from the Yamuna Expressway to the Bihari ji temple in Vrindavan which is drawing lakhs of devotees every month.

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