Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials to identify works in the circuit that could be rolled out under CSR. According to sources, the government is even mulling establishing an exclusive wing in the state industry department to use the CSR route for various development and public projects.
Adityanath was chairing the maiden meeting of UP Braj Teerth Vikas Parishad in Lucknow on Thursday evening. Now, the government is re-energising the Parishad, which is mandated with facilitating holistic development in the region spanning Mathura, Agra, Hathras, Aligarh, Etah, Mainpuri and Farrukhabad districts.
Braj, also referred to as Brij or Brijbhoomi, primarily comprises Mathura-Vrindavan and is revered as the land of Lord Krishna. Last year, the government had upgraded the local municipal board as Mathura-Vrindavan municipal corporation to stress its priority for the region, which is represented by film actor Hema Malini in Parliament and UP energy minister Shrikant Sharma in UP assembly.
The state wants to develop Braj as an international tourist hotspot replete with world-class infrastructure. Adityanath has asked officials for optimum utilisation of central funds too. The CM, however, underlined to strike a balance between the local architecture and culture while furthering infrastructure works. He directed for deploying ‘tourist police’ for the safety of backpackers and pilgrims.
Earlier, Adityanath had sought corporate funds under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme. UP tourism principal secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi told Business Standard some companies had shown interest in contributing with CSR funds towards development projects.
The state government feels the CSR purse would encourage the private sector to partner with the state for projects aimed at socio-economic development. This would not only help the state get zero cost funds, but build bridges with the private sector in the backdrop of UP pushing to translate investment proposals totalling Rs 4.68 trillion received at the UP Investors Summit 2018 into reality.
AMRUT scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015 for creating robust sewage and water infrastructure for urban transformation by launching a string of projects. The Adityanath government had provided Rs 22 billion under AMRUT, which covers 60 UP towns.
Previously, the Adityanath government had sought CSR funds for proposed 100 metre tall Lord Ram statue on the banks of Saryu in Ayodhya. The state has offered 85 tourism projects totalling Rs 27 billion across 10 major towns, including Varanasi and Gorakhpur, to companies looking to contribute funds out of their mandatory CSR spend.
Apart from Lord Ram statue, estimated to cost Rs 3.3 billion, the corporate funds are being eyed for proposed New Ayodhya project near Saryu river pegged at Rs 3.5 billion.