Govt fails to fulfil promise to Maitreya Foundation

When the Maitreya Foundation announced in November last year that it will move the Maitreya Buddha project from Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh to Bodhgaya in Bihar because of the unending delay in land acquisition, the government announced that all land will be acquired by January 15. However, the district administration of Kushinagar has so far acquired only 72 per cent of the 256 acre land required for the project.

Kushinagar District Magistrate Rigzian Sampheal said that compensation had been distributed against 186 acre land acquired so far and acquisition of another 38 acre was in the pipeline. "Some land is in litigation and pending before the sub-district magistrate, tehsildar and chakbandi officers," DM said.

Sampheal said the acquired land was sufficient to start development work but it would be transferred to International Maitreya Foundation after approval from the high-level task force constituted under the chief secretary. The trust's local representative in Gorakhpur, P K Tiwari, however, said that the trust will start construction at site when entire land was acquired in order to avoid any hindrance in future.

The chief secretary had, on December 4, called a meeting of the trust's representatives and officials of Tourism, Housing and Urban Planning Departments and Gorakhpur division, and directed officials to complete the acquisition of the land by January 15.

"The trust has given the government a brief plan of various structures like the statue of Buddha, educational, spiritual and medical related institutions that are proposed under the project. A detailed plan would be provided when the entire land was transferred to the trust," said P K Tiwari.

Sources said the chief secretary had directed the Housing and Urban Planning Department for changing the use of a piece of green land in Kushinagar's master plan to facilitate the project. But use of that land is yet to be changed. "The Tourism Department would soon start the process with the Urban Development Department in this regard," said District Magistrate.

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