The roof of the sanctum sanctorum of the Ram temple in Ayodhya started leaking after the first heavy rainfall since it was opened to the public, the shrine’s chief priest Acharya Satyendra Das said on Monday, reported PTI.

The temple is being built at an estimated cost of Rs 1,800 crore. On January 22, the temple was inaugurated in a ceremony led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while parts of it were still under construction.

On Monday, Das said that the rainwater was leaking from the ceiling directly above the place where the priest sits in front of the idol of Hindu deity Ram.

“It is very surprising that engineers from all over the country are building the Ram temple,” Das told PTI. “The temple was inaugurated on January 22. But, no one knew that if it rains, the roof will leak. It is surprising that the roof of a world-famous temple is leaking. Why did this happen?”

He also alleged negligence in the construction of the temple and claimed that there was no arrangement for the drainage of rainwater from the temple premises, such as after the rainfall on Saturday.

He urged the temple authorities to take corrective measures.

However, Nripendra Mishra, the chairperson of the Sri Ram Mandir Construction Committee, said that the ceiling is leaking since that part is not sheltered and is open to the sky.

“This is expected because Guru Mandap is exposed to the sky”, he told ANI. “I also saw some seepage from the conduit as work on the first floor is underway. On completion, the conduit will be closed. There is no drainage in the sanctum sanctorum.”

He denied that the temple had any flaw in its design or construction.

“The mandaps which are open may get rainwater,” he said. “This was discussed and the decision was to keep it open as per Nagar architectural norms.”

Roads in the newly-constructed parts of the city have also caved after heavy rainfall, reported PTI.

Congress’ Uttar Pradesh chief Ajay Rai accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of corruption in the temple construction and building of civic facilities in Ayodhya, reported PTI.

The BJP party has made Ayodhya a “hub of corruption by getting second-rate construction done in a hurry only to gain electoral benefits,” Rai alleged.

The Ram temple is being built on the site of the Babri mosque, which was demolished by Hindutva extremists on December 6, 1992, because they believed that it stood on the spot on which the deity Ram had been born. The incident had triggered communal riots across the country.

In November 2019, the Supreme Court held that the demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992 was illegal, but handed over the land to a trust for a Ram temple to be constructed. At the same time, it directed that a five-acre plot in Ayodhya be allotted to Muslims for a mosque to be constructed.

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