Officials in Ayodhya have indicated that they are willing to consider opening an outlet of US-based fast food chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), if the restaurant only serves vegetarian items on its menu. Ayodhya enforces strict rules on alcohol and meat consumption along the Panch Kosi Marg area, which is a popular pilgrimage circuit around the city. According to a government official, they have received offers from several food chains to open their shops in Ayodhya, but the only restriction is that they do not serve non-vegetarian food items within the Panch Kosi area. Similar restrictions are also enforced in Haridwar, where KFC is located outside the city.
Vishal Singh, a government official in Ayodhya, stated that “KFC has set up its unit at Ayodhya-Lucknow highway because we do not allow non-vegetarian food items here. We are ready to provide even KFC a space if it decides to sell only vegetarian items,”
“Pizza Hut opened this shop around three months back when consecration dates were announced. We are looking for a shop at Ram Path because the crowd is in that area. We are having a fairly good business, but getting a shop there would set the cash counter ticking,” Verma was cited by Moneycontrol as adding.
Following the inauguration of the Ram Mandir in January by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ayodhya is expected to evolve into a prominent religious destination, competing with other major pilgrimage centres in India. As a result, businesses, especially those in the food and hospitality sector, anticipate a significant increase in revenue, with officials indicating the possibility of expanding the food options for visitors.
On the other hand, the Domino’s pizza restaurant owned by Dinesh Yadav is capitalising on its close proximity to the Ram Mandir. The store is about one km from the shrine, according to Moneycontrol. Yadav informed the magazine that the company “did a business of around ₹5,000” on the first day.
“The construction work is still on. We cannot cater to the customers in large numbers yet. We will do well,” he added.
Increased tourism in Ayodhya
Ayodhya is expected to witness a weekly influx of 10-12 lakh visitors until Ram Navami on April 17, with continued high footfall expected thereafter, according to state government projections. With the surge in temple tourism, Ayodhya is poised to expand beyond its identity as a temple town with the implementation of 161 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs), amounting to over ₹8769.52 crore. The MoUs were signed during the Uttar Pradesh Global Investors’ Summit in February last year and will be initiated at a proposed groundbreaking ceremony involving at least 25 state government departments. The upcoming ceremony is expected to increase the number of projects and their total value, further contributing to Ayodhya’s development.
To promote tourism, the state tourism department is set to initiate projects worth over ₹2020 crore, while the housing department will undertake projects valued at ₹3234 crore. The development plans are expected to create job opportunities for locals and enhance the overall infrastructure of the city.
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