The birthplace of Buddha is an international heritage site. Now, Lumbini appears set to add another international dimension to it.
Even as the decades-old UN master plan prepared by the Japanese architect Kenjo Tange struggles to translate into a concrete action, a non-government organization purportedly belonging to an atheist communist China has announced a mega project to turn the site into a Mecca or a Jerusalem.
The ‘Chinese organisation’s plan is said to build, among others, an international airport and a train network at Lumbini that lies on Nepal’s open and porous borders with India
The 3 billion dollar project, according to the reports, is already on with half of the fund “raised”. The sources have not been revealed yet. But the reports circulated to the western media refer to the involvement of the Rockefellers of the United States.
Going by the latest reports, a UN body has thrown its weight behind the proposed Asia-Pacific Cooperation Foundation undertaking.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation’s (UNIDO) – not, curiously, the UNESC) -- Beijing office signed an agreement with the little-known Foundation to partially fund the project.
Curiously enough, there have been no official word yet either from the Chinese side or from the Nepalese side.
Such a mammoth project and no official knowledge on either side!