By NewsGram Staff Writer
The government today held a meeting to discuss the modalities for developing the Buddhist Circuit under the new Swadesh Darshan Scheme for which government has allocated Rs. 120 crore for this year.
“Buddhist Circuit is one of the five circuits identified under the Swadesh Darshan scheme of the Ministry of Tourism and Rs. 120 crore have been allocated this year for the development of the Buddhist Circuit under the scheme,” Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) Dr. Mahesh Sharma said while addressing the Members of Parliament (MPs) from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Ladakh.
“Buddhist circuit will include places like Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Sarnath, Sidharth Nagar, Sant Kabir Nagar, Shrawasti, Piprawa, Bodh Gaya, Vaishali , Nalanda among others,” the minister said.
Addressing the MPs, Dr Mahesh Sharma said that the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi attaches utmost importance to the development of theme based circuits in the country, and especially the Buddhist Circuit. The Minister said that the opinion of the MPs is very valuable, keeping in mind the local requirements and ground realities of these constituencies falling under the Buddhist Circuit .
At the meeting, the Members of Parliament raised issues related to their constituencies with respect to the development of Buddhist Circuit. They highlighted the issue of connectivity which is standing in the way of development of tourism in these areas.
The MPs suggested that a Buddhist National Highway should be created connecting the important places within the Circuit. The MPs also wanted improved air connectivity by developing airports at Kushi Nagar and Shrawasti , development of budget hotels, common amenities and infrastructure in these areas were discussed during the meeting.
Highlighting the economic benefits of developing the Buddhist circuit, the MPs estimated that the number of tourist visitors can be easily increased to ten lakhs if the Circuit is developed properly, which will help the country to earn Rs 6000 crore of foreign exchange.
The inflow of foreign tourists will not only lead to increased inflow of foreign exchange earnings of India , but will also generate large amount of employment for the local people, especially in areas where there are no other avenues of employment for the local people.
The ministers discussed the importance of their areas where various events and activities related to Lord Buddha had taken place. They requested the minister to develop a special museum where the centuries old statue of Lord Buddha, all artefacts and various other objects related to Buddhism can be placed at a single location in the Buddhist Circuit for the tourists to view.
The MPs also suggested that an inter-ministerial group should be formed for the development of the circuit as it involves coordination and cooperation of various Ministries like civil aviation, roads and highways among others.