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HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

Shops around Bodhi complex to relocate

Ruchir Kumar & Arun Kumar, Hindustan Times  Patna, July 09, 2013
First Published: 19:29 IST(9/7/2013) | Last Updated: 19:31 IST(9/7/2013)

Security comes at a price. Some 58 shopkeepers, selling Buddhist artifacts and trinkets outside the Mahabodhi Mahavihara were on Tuesday served notices to shut shop with immediate effect and relocate.

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The district administration ordered that the shops be moved to 'Node I', some 300 metres away from the present location.

At present, these shops are located within less than 100 metre radius from the temple, which is a violation of the security provisions governing structures, which come under the world heritage site of the UNESCO. The Mahabodhi Mahavihara is a world heritage site.

Among the shops located immediately outside the temple are 32 of the tourism department, which had leased them out to private parties, 18 of the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) and eight of the nagar panchayat.

Tourism secretary Mihir Singh, who was in Patna on Tuesday, gave the formal nod to the proposal, following which the district administration issued the orders.

Meanwhile, the district administration has decided to ban mobile phones and bags inside the temple campus.

"We want to ban mobile phones, photography, bags with immediate effect, but at the same time want to sensitise the monks and pilgrims before moving ahead with the ban. For this, we have taken into confidence the BTMC, which has agreed and will publicise it," said a district official who requested anonymity.

The district administration was caught in a bind on banning cameras inside the temple premises, as many in the BTMC argued that most tourists coming to the Bodhi temple complex are foreigners who like to be photographed against the backdrop of the temple.

To this, the district administration had decided to allow photography, with due permission, on requests coming through monasteries.

Reviewing the security parameters of the temple, the district administration has also decided to increase the height of the temporary boundary wall.

It has also decided to install more number of CCTV cameras of higher resolution.

At present there are 16 CCTV cameras on the temple campus of which 15 were functional when the Sunday serial blast broke the silence of this peace loving place.


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