Plan to link Deoghar with Buddhist circuit

by GAUTAM SARKAR, The Telegraph, May 27, 2009

Dumka, India -- If all goes well, the land of Lord Baidyanath will be connected with the Buddhist tourist circuit.

Nishikant Dubey, the new MP from Godda, has taken initiatives to link Deoghar, home to the famous Baidyanath Dham, with Vikramasila Mahavihara, the ancient university in Bhagalpur in neighbouring Bihar, via rail. The rail route will pass through Godda.

Interestingly, Godda has no railway connectivity a fact that played a crucial role in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking to reporters, Dubey said he has already placed the proposal for the rail link before a Japan team that is working to conserve the ruined university in Bhagalpur.

In fact, Dubey was instrumental in bringing the eleven-member team, headed by Harao Shimada, the vice-chancellor of China University of Commerce and economic adviser to former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, at the excavation site of Vikramasila Mahavihara in April 2008.

The team had assured Dubey that it would invest to restore the historical site and connect it with the Buddhist circuit. He had also approached G.S. Datta, the director-general of Bihar Institute of Public Administration and Rural Development and Bihar state co-ordinator of Indian national trust for art and culture heritage, who visited the site in April and spoke to the Japanese team.

I am trying to include Deoghar in this circuit too. Once all the formalities are complete, it will be a matter of time before the rail link is laid, Dubey said. He added that after the end of the Parliament session, he would go to Japan after June 9 to hold talks with the team. A delegation of representatives of the Japan government would visit India in July, he said.

I will discuss the project with the Japanese team and concerned officials of India. If all things go as planned, the team can start survey work for this proposed project between 2009-end and the beginning of 2010, he said.

Dubey is optimistic that the Japan government would extend a helping hand to restore Vikramasila Mahavihara. At the same time, it would assist the Indian government to connect Deoghar with the Buddhist circuit through rail.