The Yogi who ‘sold his Ferrari’ and got his shops demolished  

Heard of a serving CM’s property demolished for widening a road? But while plaudits poured in for the UP chief minister, the ploy of widening the road with public money benefits his Mall and college

The Yogi who ‘sold his Ferrari’ and got his shops demolished  


The sight of neither bulldozers nor demolition of structures are unusual. But demolition of 40 shops in the third week of May caught residents of Gorakhpur by surprise.

The surprise was partly because demolitions took place during the lockdown; but largely because the shops demolished were part of the Gorakhnath temple spread over an area of 52 acres, at the head of which is Yogi Adityanath, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. Whoever had heard of a serving chief minister’s property being demolished for widening a road?

The Yogi may or may not have read the self-help book, “The monk who sold his Ferrari” but like many other monks these days, his business sense is sound; and like most political leaders, he is not averse to use public office and public money to enhance the value of his property.

The Yogi had been at the forefront of the campaign for a four-lane road leading to the temple and beyond. The shopkeepers, some of whom claimed to be in possession for 70 years, were not in favour. Most of them were paying a monthly rent of a thousand or two thousand Rupees to the temple. No compensation would be enough to cover higher rent and costs if they moved, they feared.

But the project took off once Yogi became the chief minister. The 17-Kilometre road project was approved and Rs 288 Crore were quickly sanctioned and the process of land acquisition was initiated.

The bulldozers appeared on May 20, during the lockdown, and began to demolish shops owned by the temple. In the next few days, 40 of the shops were demolished. One of the main beneficiaries of the project, residents point out, is the Math. Not only will it benefit by four-laning of the road and a planned overbridge but a medical college of the Math under construction on the same route will also be easier to reach. The Yogi has ensured a Metro station also named after the Math as and when the project finally materializes. Vikas is clearly in a hurry to reach Gorakhpur.

The twist in the tale is that the Gorakhnath Math authorities (read chief minister Adityanath) are now planning to build a Mall-cum-residential-tower on a plot of land that belongs to the Math and where a Subji Mandi is located. The design has been approved for 80 shops in the Mall and 20 odd residential flats. This business project will also receive a boost by the four-laned road.

And the icing on the cake is that businessmen and shopkeepers who have been evicted can now buy a shop in the Mall by paying a premium or end up paying a much higher rent.

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