TIKA R PRADHAN
KATHMANDU: Executive Vice-Chairman of the Asia Pacific Exchange and Communication Foundation Xiao Wunam today discussed with the Unified CPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is also the co-chairman of the foundation, about the continuation of the stalled Broader Lumbini Project.
According to Prahlad Budhathoki, central committee member of the UCPN-M, who attended the meeting, Xiao discussed with Dahal on continuation of the multi-billion dollar Lumbini development plan. They talked about how to develop the Lumbini project into the Buddhist Mecca.
Dahal had said that he was keen to continue the plan and thus further discuss about the plan in the next meeting. The meeting, according to Budhathoki, had lasted 15 minutes as Dahal was preparing to leave for Nepalgunj.
The $3 billion investment that would China leading the project to transform the small town of Lumbini into a Buddhist Mecca and place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from around the world was mired in controversy right from the beginning.
With the denial of the Vienna-based United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) on having any valid contractual agreement with the APECF, their claim of the involvement of the UN body remained controversial. They even had not gone through appropriate channel to introduce their project in the country.
Around a dozen delegates were present during the meeting with the Vice-Chairman while organisational department head of UCPN-M Krishna Bahadur Mahara party secretary and minister Post Bahadur Bogati were from the Maoist side.
The dissolved parliament had also formed a committee to study on the development of Lumbini under the leadership of former speaker Subash Nembang.
While the Baburam Bhattarai-led government formed a committee led by UCPN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal including representatives of all the sections of the society.
The national directive committee of Dahal had visited New York to invite UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon as the co-chair of the International Buddhist Convention scheduled for April 25-28, 2012 along with himself.
However, the convention was stalled after Ban postponed his visit. The meeting also discussed on holding the stalled World Buddhist Conference soon.