US$ 64m needed for Lumbini Master Plan

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KATHMANDU, JUL 20 -

An estimated USD 64 million is needed to fully complete the Master Plan that Japanese architect Kenzo Tange developed almost 35 years ago for Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha and a Unesco World Heritage property.

This estimate prepared by the Lumbini Development Trust and Unesco was presented to the representatives of the international community in Nepal at an event in Kathmandu on Wednesday.

At the gathering organised by the Unesco Office in Kathmandu in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and the Lumbini Development Trust, representatives of the diplomatic community, the UN system and other development agencies, and members of the Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee were present.

The purpose of the information-sharing event was to lay a solid foundation for a fundraising campaign for the full completion of the Kenzo Tange Master Plan for Lumbini, Unesco in a statement.

Pushpa Kamal Dahal, chairman of the Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee; Culture Minister Ram Kumar Shrestha; Culture Secretary Sushil Ghimire and Lumbini Development Trust Vice-chairman Acharya Karma Sangbo Sherpa reiterated Nepal’s commitment to the development of Lumbini as a place of national pride and one of the world’s most sacred spots for Buddhists and non-Buddhists.

They invited the international community to assist in completing the remaining components of the master plan.

Throughout the decades, considerable efforts by both national and international stakeholders had gone into constructing many elements of the master plan. However, major parts of the plan are yet to be implemented.

As the numbers of visitors to the site have steadily risen over the years, so is the increasing need to fully complete the master plan, including components that are geared toward providing facilities, services and accommodation for growing numbers of pilgrims and tourists.

“The completion of the master plan is urgent not only to ensure that pilgrims, when visiting Lumbini, have this unique spiritual experience that Kenzo Tange so brilliantly envisioned. It is also urgent, because the realisation of the plan will safeguard the historical remains of Lumbini from irreversible damage and loss,” Axel Plathe, head of the Unesco Office in Kathmandu, was quoted as saying.

The preparation of the master plan was initiated by the International Committee for the Development of Lumbini in 1972, which entrusted the renowned Architect Kenzo Tange to design and conceptualise the Plan for Lumbini.

The ICDL was formed in 1970 at the initiative of former UN Secretary General U Thant after he visited Lumbini in 1967. The Kenzo Tange Master Plan was approved by the Nepal government and the UN in 1978, and soon after, the implementation of the plan commenced.

The master plan was designed to turn Lumbini into a major centre of pilgrimage and tourism. To realise this vision, considerable financial support and assistance are needed, so that the historical accounts as well as the spiritual, archaeological and cultural assets that are associated with Lord Buddha’s life, are fully preserved and protected for current and future generations.

 

Posted on: 2013-07-20 09:01