A wall of bricks bearing 'Shri Ram' chants seen at the Ram Janmabhomi Nyas-run workshop at Karsevakpuram in Ayodhya
A wall of bricks bearing 'Shri Ram' chants seen at the Ram Janmabhomi Nyas-run workshop at Karsevakpuram in Ayodhya
Photo: PTI

The time has come to construct a Ram Temple in Ayodhya. It will be "grand and magnificent" the Prime Minister had earlier proclaimed while announcing the setting up of the 'Shri Ram Janma Bhoomi Tirtha Kshetra' trust.

This came just days before the expiry of a 3-month deadline set by the Supreme Court for constituting an independent 15-member trust to oversee the construction. In early February the government named the members of the trust.

Now, on Tuesday, Vishwa Hindu Parishad vice-president Champat Rai revealed that Larsen and Toubro has been hired for the construction of the temple.

This is also a company that has been burdened with financial woes (after a fashion) in recent times. Take the company's partnership with Hyderabad Metro which is at present costing it Rs 1,300 crore per annum in interest. This, NVS Reddy, the MD of Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited explains to The New Indian Express, has resulted in the cost of the project increasing every year. He added that the company was at present earning a revenue of Rs 480 crore every year.

But this is not the only problem. Despite posting reasonably strong order flows, and having fair revenue and profit growth in the last quarter of 2019, its stock remains near a three year low. A Livemint article, notes that January saw a very limited number of big tender awards, even in the insfrastructure segment. There were slim pickings among private sector announcements too. Additionally, a large chunk of Larsen and Toubro's order flows accrued from international markets.

It would seem however that the company's luck may be changing. Even aside from the rather significant Ram Mandir construction deal, the company on Tuesday said that it had won significant orders in India and overseas via the power transmission and distribution business of L&T Construction.

According to a PTI report, the company has bagged an order to design and construct a 50 MW Solar Photovoltaic Plant in Tamil Nadu and additional orders for ongoing transmission line jobs in India. This is alongside international orders -- in Bangladesh, Nepal and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

While the company did not provide the value of the contracts, it said that the orders fall under the "significant" category, which ranges between Rs 1,000 crore and Rs 2,500 crore according to the classification of contracts.

Coming back to the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, Vishwa Hindu Parishad vice-president Champat Rai has said that L&T put up a proposal to construct the ram temple ten years ago, before the then VHP working president Ashok Singhal.

"After the Supreme Court verdict, L&T has reiterated its offer. The company has the infrastructure and technical expertise needed for such a major project," he said.

The priority, according to him, is to shift the Ram Lalla idol to Manas Bhawan.

In the next step, soil testing will be carried out to ensure construction strength.

(With inputs from agencies)

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