New body to manage Bodh Gaya heritage sites proposed | india-news | Hindustan Times
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New body to manage Bodh Gaya heritage sites proposed

The Bihar government is seized with a proposal to constitute a separate authority to oversee development work in and around the Buddhist shrine of Mahabodhi Mahavihara, a Unesco world heritage site

india Updated: Feb 25, 2017 16:18 IST
Anil Kumar
The Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya.
The Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya.(File photo)

Planned development of the south central Bihar Buddhist pilgrimage town of Bodh Gaya, and of the Unesco world heritage site of Mahabodhi Mahavihara located therein, may soon get a fillip following initiation of a proposal for the constitution of the Bodh Gaya World Heritage Buffer Zone Management Authority (BGWHBZMA).

The Bodh Gaya Temple Management committee (BTMC), which manages the Mahabodhi temple, has sent a proposal to the Bihar government for constituting the authority, headed by the commisioner of Magadh division, under which Bodh Gaya falls.

As per the proposal sent to the state’s urban development department, the Gaya district magistrate-cum-Bodh Gaya Temple Management committee (BTMC) chairman, will be the ex-officio secretary of the proposed authority.

Other members of the proposed authority will include the chief monk of BTMC, executive officer of the Nagar Panchayat, executive engineer of the public works department, Gaya SSP, archaeological survey of India Patna circle superintendent, representative of urban development and forest departments, a representative of UNESCO, director of state archaeology, besides five persons nominated from different fields.

The idea to set up the authority was mooted in 2012, when a 10-member team of Unesco’s World Heritage Committee, led by Liang Jong, had urged the state government and the BTMC to constitute a separate body to ensure protection of the UNESCO world heritage site and to ensure an encroachment-free buffer zone around it.

Once the proposal is approved by the state government and the authority is constituted, it will purport to protect and preserve heritage sites at Bodh Gaya and to beautify the area in the 500 metre-radius of the Mahabodhi Mahavihara, counted among one of the holiest Buddhist shrines.

The authority will look after the heritage site and landscape across the entire buffer zone, in which further restrictions may be placed on any kind of construction activity. It will also ensure proper coordination among various agencies of the Bihar and Central governments, engaged in development activities at Bodh Gaya.

The committee had earlier rejected the master plan prepared by the government for Bodh Gaya. The state government, on the recommendations of the committee, later directed the BTMC to prepare a proposal for constituting a separate body to look after the buffer zone.

Gaya DM-cum-chairman of the BTMC, Kumar Ravi, said, the buffer zone around Mahabodhi Mahavihara would be free of any construction to maintain the beauty and backdrop of the temple.

“The buffer zone plan has been conceived by the state government for holistic and integrated development of the city as per the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee”, Ravi said.

The proposed buffer zone would include a meditation park on the north-western side of the mahavihara, the BTMC office, graveyard site, Jagannath Temple and Kalchakra Maidan. It will also cover the famed Niranjana river bank, Tika Bigha village, Maya Sarovar and Taiwanese Temple.