China to develop Lumbini in Nepal with USD 3 bln investment
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 9, 2011
From Shirish B Pradhan Kathmandu, Aug 9 (PTI) China today said it has signed a USD 3 billion deal with Nepal to develop Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha by constructing an airport and other facilities in the southern region, adjoining India.Dismissing media reports about having a secret pact with Nepalese authorities, China has clarified that it has signed an agreement with Nepal’s Tourism Minister to launch the controversial mega project. Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yang Houlan told a Madhesi party that they had signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Tourism Minister Khagda Bahadur, also a Maoist leader, regarding the mega project involving construction of airport, roads, hotels and other facilities to develop the area of southern Nepal adjoined to India.
The Chinese Ambassador today met Mahantha Thakur, chairman of Terai Madhes Democratic Party and clarified the matter after hue and cry in media about the deal, according to Hridayes Tripathi, Vice-chairman of the party who was also present during the meeting.Maoist chief Prachanda is the co-chairman of the Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation that has signed the deal with the UN Industrial Development Organization to develop Lumbini as a Buddhist Mecca, Tripathi said.There might be lack of coordination among the Nepalese Ministers as the Ministry of Culture and Finance were not aware of the MoU, the Chinese envoy told the Madhesi leaders when asked to clarify the matter during a courtesy call, Tripathi said.The Chinese envoy also assured that they will not go against the original Master Plan prepared by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, while launching the plan to develop Lumbini as a Special Development Zone that aims to bring in economic prosperity to the country.