Nepal making plans to develop Buddha's birthplace

Xinhua News, Nov 26, 2007

KATHMANDU, Nepal -- Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha and one of the World Heritage Sites in Nepal, is going to have a framework for future plans in the sacred archaeological site soon, a leading website, THT Online reported on Monday.

<< Lumbini: Spot where the Buddha was born

Since the site, some 300 km west of Kathmandu, is now a center of attraction for religious pilgrims, architectural students and tourism entrepreneurs, the United Nations' Educational, Scientificand Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is going to come up with a framework, based on which all new master plans and other development works will be carried out, reported the website.

"The drafting of the framework has begun. It is going to stop the government as well as other institutions from making unwanted changes in the site," Kai Waise, the adviser for drafting the framework for the UNESCO Kathmandu Office was quoted by the website as saying.

The Integrated Management Plan will define the significance, size and right of authorities concerned from different aspects, the UNESCO adviser further said.

More than a single plan, it is a system, process or function of the area, which will be the supreme guideline for Lumbini, once itis endorsed by the cabinet, he said.

Though the focus of the framework is the patch of land measuring 1.92 square meters, in which Lord Buddha was born, the framework will also come up with recommendations for buffer zones and other surrounding development zones, in line with recommendations made by the World Heritage Committee to prevent the total de-listing of the site from the World Heritage Site list.

"We will also draw certain lines on how existing factories, the proposed construction of the international airport and dams in nearby rivers will or could affect the vulnerability of the site," Waise said.

The Nepali government must make sure that development work carried out around the site do not affect the site, Waise further said.

He said that the plan itself is not a master plan, but a broad and long-term guideline that will govern drawing of new master plans and other initiatives for conservation or development of the area.