Tokyo meet to showcase Bihar glory

by Pranava K Chaudhary, TNN, Sep 10, 2007

PATNA, India -- The glory of ancient Bihar will be showcased during a three-day meet on Indian tourism conference at Tokyo, commencing from September 12. For the first time, Bihar government has brought out a glossy colour book on Buddhist circuit in Japanese to attract them to visit Bihar.

Japan's contribution to Bihar has been immense in recent years. Besides the construction of two Vishwa Shanti Stupas at Rajgir and Vaishali, Japan has already offered a grant to the tune of Rs 5,600 crore for infrastructure development of Buddhist circuit in Bihar. Japan has also shown keen interest in setting up the proposed international university at Nalanda. Two-member Bihar delegation, led by tourism minister Nand Kishore Yadav, will be leaving for Tokyo on Monday. The meet on Indian tourism is being jointly organised by the Union ministry of tourism, Ficci, Japan Chamber of Commerce and tour and travel associations of Japan.

Before leaving for Tokyo, state tourism secretary Anjani K Singh told TOI: "for the first time, we are carrying 100 copies of a book on Buddhist circuit to Tokyo for its free distribution during our interactive session with various Japanese groups. This time, we do not have to face any language barrier." The photographs of Lord Buddha, Vaishali and Vishwa Shanti Stupas are printed on the cover page of the book.

Singh said : "We have also made a 15-minute documentary on Buddha Mahotsva in Japanese language. This 15-minute film would depict the the annual Buddha festivals in Bodh Gaya to attract more Japanese tourists." Singh will also make an half-an hour video presentation at the conference in which he will talk about the major tourist and ancient sites of Bihar with Japanese sub-titles. "We have also decided to gift Madhubani paintings to some important Japanese dignitaries during our meet," he said.

"We will have separate meetings with tour and travel operators in which we will talk about the changes taking place in Bihar to attract Buddhist pilgrims," Singh said. Interestingly, Japan has already offered a grant to the tune of Rs 5,600 crore for infrastructure development of Buddhist circuit in Bihar. These include landscaping, solid waste management and improvement of existing drains and electrification.

The Rs 5,600-crore grant has been offered by the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) which will also fund construction of four-lane roads as part of the infrastructure development in the state's Buddhist circuit. A total 481.20-km stretch of roads will be covered under the project.

On previous occasion, JBIC had also extended financial assistance in developing basic facilities like drinking water, electricity and sewerage system at Nalanda, Vaishali, Rajgir, Kesariya, Areraj and Mangalgarh. The first Vishwa Shanti Stupa was erected on the top of the Ratnagiri hill at Rajgir (1965-69) with financial assistance from Fuji Guruji. The second stupa in Bihar is located in Vaishali.
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