The Bihar government has initiated an inquiry into charges of building law violation and commercial use of their premises by foreign monasteries at Bodh Gaya.
Gaya district magistrate (DM) Kumar Ravi said the nagar panchayat, commercial tax department and the Gaya police had been directed to look into charges levelled against the monasteries by the Bodh Gaya Hotel Association.
While the Bodh Gaya nagar panchayat would inquire into charges of building laws violation by monasteries, the commercial tax department had been asked to probe commercial use of the buildings raised in the name of the Buddhist monasteries, he said.
The police would check if the monasteries had been reporting to them about all foreign guests checking into their premises, he added.
All the 55 foreign monasteries would come under the ambit of the inquiry, the DM, who is also the chairman of the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee, said.
The Bodh Gaya Hotel Association had earlier threatened to launch agitation or move the Patna high court against the alleged commercial use of monasteries, which its members said was badly affecting their business in the Buddhist temple town.
The state chief secretary had on July 1 convened a high-level meeting to discuss the matter. The Gaya DM as well as representatives of the trading community and the Bodh Gaya Hotel Association had attended the meeting that had resolved to probe the activities of the monasteries. The Gaya DM was subsequently directed to initiate steps for an inquiry into the matter.
Talking to HT, Ravi said, “Not all monasteries have been violating the building norms. I have directed all the concerned to look into the issue and prepare a report. Only four or five monasteries are said to have been violating rules of guest houses. Even hotels of Bodh Gaya are in the ambit of investigation. Anybody found guilty will have to face the law of the land.”
Bodh Gaya Hotel Association general secretary Sudama Prasad, however, said most of the foreign monasteries were being used as hotels and guest houses.“The monasteries here have not only ruined the hotel industry of Bodh Gaya but are also evading taxes. We have demanded a thorough probe into the matter and proper action against the monasteries. If the government fails to address to the issue, we will move the high court,” he said.