Lumbini master plan’s progress at snail pace

2nd May, 2018 | Tourism Mail Crew

KATHMANDU, May 02: Four decades have passed by since the launching of campaign for the systematic development of Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha, but the campaign has not completed its mission yet.

Although around 75 per cent development works have been completed as per the master plan during four decades after the formulation of the master plan, it has not made any satisfactory stride.

About the Master plan 

The then Secretary General of the United Nations U Thant on April 23, 1969 had prepared a concept for developing Lumbini as of international standard by formulating a master plan. He gave responsibility to the renowned Japanese Architecture expert Prof Kenzo Tange to prepare the master plan for the same.

The master plan has set a goal to protect and promote Lumbini as a religious site of international standard by protecting the places of historical, cultural, archaeological and religious importance as well as depicting the tradition of national and international Buddhism in Lumbini.

Similarly, the master plan has the objective of developing Lumbini as the center of pilgrimage for Buddhists across the globe and attractive destination of all Buddhists. The master plan has covered five sq miles area.

Some of the physical infrastructures of the project have already been constructed while some are on under construction. The government has considered the project as the National pride project.

Garden Area 

Garden area, the most important part of Lumbini, is located toward south of the Lumbini area.

Mayadevi Temple, Ashok Pillar and remains of ancient Buddha monastery are located in the garden area. The heritage enlisted in the list of World Cultural Heritage Site of UNESCO since 1997 are found here. Initial phase for construction of four ponds, some 41 green gardens has been completed.

Construction works of safety wall around the area covered by the Lumbini Master plan has also been constructed. Likewise, boating service has come into operation for the facility of pilgrims and tourists to visit the birthplace of Buddha from north side.

Administrative building and tourism information center designed by Prof Tange have been constructed and brought into operation.

Attraction of various monasteries 

Seven monasteries of different countries including Nepal have already been constructed at the area allocated toward east south from central drainage for the construction of monasteries of 13 countries.

Similarly, monasteries of 12 neighboring countries at the area of 29 plots toward west part are under construction.

Two Japanese hotels and Sri Lankan pilgrimage shelter have been constructed toward north side of New Lumbini Village and they are now in operation.

Administrative building of Lumbini Development Trust, Pilgrim Information Center, museum, library, meeting hall, cafe, restaurant, gift shop, bank are under construction as per the master plan.

The Trust has also forwarded development of historical places including Tilaurakot of Kapilvastu, along with development of Lumbini.

According to the Trust, initiative has been carried out to get more fact by carrying out archaeological excavation and innovation at ancient Kapilvastu Palace and Tilaurakot.

However, construction task of multi-purpose information center at Devdaha Bhawanipur has reached to its final phase. An arrangement has already been signed for the construction of round path around Ramgram Stupa of Nawalparasi district.

Remaining works of master plan 

Out of some important physical infrastructures to be constructed as per the master plan–construction of water tank, laying drinking water pipeline, auditorium hall, additional six buildings of Dom shape, roads, sewerage management, construction of pond are some important physical infrastructures was underway and going to be completed soon.

Acting member secretary and project chief En Saroj Bhattarai said that a goal has been set to complete these remaining works within two years. Around Rs 6 billion is estimated to complete the remaining works.

Master plan in snail pace 

Siddharthanagar municipality is the main entry point of Lumbini. So it has interest and concern in development of Lumbini.

Chairperson of Siddharthanagar chamber of commerce and industry Kul Prasad Neupane said that the development of Lumbini is in a ‘snail pace’.

He said that remarkable progress would be made in development task if responsibility is given by forming a powerful body comprising development experts.

Neupane said lack of smooth management, lack of capacity to spend budget, some minor dispute in the Trust are some reasons behind delay in completion of development activities as per the master plan.

Similarly, Culture Expert Dr Gitu Giri, who carried out deep study about the Lumbini, said, although there is satisfactory progress in development task of Lumbini in recent period, construction of some physical infrastructure against master plan due to personal greed was wrong.

It is necessary to make arrangement of budget by determining the deadline to complete the construction works as the government of Nepal has set a target to complete the development works of Lumbini at its own.

Likewise, it is necessary to complete the construction work of Bhairahawa-based Gautam Buddha International Airport as soon as possible as number of pilgrims and tourists visiting Lumbini would be increased remarkably.