China to invest Rs 8b in Lumbini
Posted by worldamity on November 21, 2010
By: Purna Basnet (Republica Daily)
China will invest eight billion rupees to develop Lumbini as an International Buddha Center.
The Chinese private sector will invest in the proposed construction project that will include a 100-meter Buddha statue and some new constructions and renovations.
The Beijing Zhongtai Jinghu Investment Company headed by the former Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Li Debiao, has already been granted permission by the Nepal government for the project.
“This project has been brought to develop Lumbini as the Buddhist Center in the line of Mecca for Muslims and the Vatican City for Christians,” former ambassador Debiao told Republica. “The monks and Chinese Buddhist Association wish to share the message of peace from Nepal by developing Lumbini as the International Buddhist Center,” Debiao added.
Secretary at the Ministry of Culture and State Restructuring Mod Raj Dotel said the project proposes construction of a 100-meter Buddha statue, excavation of the remaining part of the Maya Devi Temple, construction of an international Buddhist Museum and operation of green buses in the Lumbini region.
“The ministry has given permission to move forward the biggest project yet in Lumbini,” Dotel said. “We are awaiting the project design and the go ahead from the Chinese government as the project has private investment,” he added.
Sources claimed the Chinese company and the Lumbini Development Trust are signing a project agreement within a month as the Chinese government has already agreed to it. Nepal coordinator of the project Binod Bahadur Shrestha claimed the construction of the 100-meter Buddha statue alone would cost around four billion rupees even if Nepali sculptors are used.
“Many countries have constructed Buddha temples in Lumbini according to their respective beliefs. This international center is being constructed to embrace all of them,” Shrestha said.
The 100-meter statue, if erected, would become the seventh largest in the world. China, which has 300 million Buddhists, currently has five of the 10 largest Buddha statues in the world.