In the wake of the town earning the UNESCO-granted distinction of being a World Heritage Site, state-run urban planner Housing and Urban Development Corporation has prepared a development plan 2031 that visualises Bodhgaya as a ‘world Buddhist centre’, a pilgrim destination and a green and healthy place.As per the conditions on which the World Heritage Site status has been granted to Bodhgaya, the master plan states that there will be no new construction within one kilometer radius of the Maha Bodhi Temple and this zone will be treated as a special area.“Building by-laws applicable in other parts of the city will not be applicable here,” said HUDCO Executive Director (Design and Development) R K Safaya, who is in-charge of framing the master plan.He said the master plan also requires that all shops located outside the temple walls be shifted to an area beyond one kilometer of the over 2000-year-old monument.“Commercial complexes are being built right outside the one kilometer radius of the temple, which have been designated as Nodes 1 and 2, where the shops near the temple will be shifted,” Safaya said.In another development “The Union tourism minister Ambika Soni’s grand plans to develop the Buddhist circuit by laying world class road network, construct modern budget and higher-end hotels, facilitating direct rail links and air services to Bodh Gaya speaks of nothing, but turning of the wheel. Soni, who visited Bodh Gaya, Rajgir, Nalanda along with a high-level official delegation, pressed upon the state machinery to augment the tourist infrastructure in the state.“We must create a world class road network in Bihar linking Bodh Gaya, the seat of Buddha’s enlightenment, to other historic sites related to his life. To begin with, the roads from Bodh Gaya to Rajgir to Nalanda to Vaishali must be of world class,” the minister said.
While inspecting the Mahabodhi and Bodh Gaya temples, Soni said the airport has to be developed. “I will take up with the civil aviation minister the matter of the possibility of Indian airlines operating from Gaya and exploring possibilities of rail link via Chennai and Guwahati. This year, we have to expedite the work to ensure that by the next Kalchakra Parv, Gaya becomes a well planned city,” she added.Amitabh Kant, joint secretary in ministry of tourism, said most of the Buddhist circuit generated markets catering to global travellers, for which we need a world class infrastructure. “We too need to develop that to drive the state and country’s tourism with value and volume,” he said.
Bodh Gaya set for a face lift
Some time back when I was walking through the by lanes Bodh Gaya a unique sense of pride and passion filled my heart when I standing in front of the huge statue of Lord Buddha.At the same time the inhospitable road route and abject poverty around the place really makes a sad picture of the city which is a world heritage city.It seems finally the days of revial are here and in a significant move a master plan has been formulated to rectify its haphazard growth down the years and conserve its historical, cultural and archaeological importance.
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