Notice Served on 55 Bodh Gaya Monasteries for Alleged Violation of Building Rules

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), June 21, 2017 | Go to article overview

Notice Served on 55 Bodh Gaya Monasteries for Alleged Violation of Building Rules


India, June 21 -- The Bodh Gaya Nagar Panchayat has served notices on 55 foreign Buddhist monasteries for allegedly violating building laws and running commercial activity from there.

The circle office at Bodh Gaya, 111 kms south of Patna, has initiated a separate inquiry to find out violation of building norms by any monastery and structure that may have illegally come up on the land distributed among Dalits and homeless by the Bihar government in the 1980s.

The nagar panchayat, an urban civic body comparable to a municipality, and the circle office initiated the action after a petition was filed by the Bodh Gaya Hoteliers' Association and the Bodh Gaya Mukhiya Sangh in the Patna high court against "violation of building rules and conversion of monasteries into guest houses and hotels".

"Abuse of building law is rampant at Bodh Gaya where Buddhist foreign monasteries have turned into hotels or guest houses by keeping law-enforcing agencies in dark. These monasteries even go to the extent of concealing the identity of their guests, which again threatens the security of the revered Buddhist shrine, Mahabodhi Mahavihara, a Unesco world heritage site," said Bodh Gaya Hoteliers' Association general secretary Sudama Kumar.

The rules of Bodh Gaya Nagar Panchayat permits only 10 rooms at each monastery. "But many have more than 50 luxurious rooms that are let out to tourists on exorbitant rates," he said.

This is not the first time that action had been initiated against "erring" monasteries. The state chief secretary, had in July last year, convened a high-level meeting that was attended by in-charges of 54 foreign monasteries, Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) office-bearers, representatives of hoteliers' body and Bodh Gaya Nagar Panchayat members. …

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