Buddhists nurse a grouse with state govt

The Times of India News Service

HUBLI: The Karnataka government's inaction over the last decade to the demand by the Buddhists to develop the existing Buddha `viharas' in Hubli-Dharwad, has upset the community.

According to the Buddhists, umpteen assurances have been given by former CMs and Chief Minister S.M. Krishna, but everything is steeped in red-tape.

The Boudha Samaj Parishat said: "We want a `vihara' on one of the small isolated hills on the Pune-Bangalore National Highway near Budarshingi village in Hubli, resembling the Anantha Pindaka Buddha Vihara on Rekuli Mount in Bidar.

What the Buddhists have in mind is a grand prayer or assembly hall, medical facility for the aged and infirm, orphanage, counselling and discourse centre, dormitory-monastery for the monks, a printing press for printing books on Buddha dharma, library and study centre, a facility where social service campaigns can be launched for uplift of the oppressed and downtrodden masses.

A proposal for the development of the hill, a five acre plot and basic infrastructural grants was presented under the leadership of various Buddhist monks to the state government in 1997. Consequently, in 1998, then chief minister J.H. Patel and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda had agreed in principle to sanction grants for the `vihara'.

A five-acre-plot was earmarked for the project, as per the assurance given by the then state government, and the district administration was intimated to do the needful, recalled the Buddhists.

They added, the district administration had promised to release funds for the `vihara' in the coming financial year. The then Deputy Commissioner Sanjeev Kumar had submitted to the government complete details about the proposed `vihara', they said.

Unfortunately, Sanjeev Kumar was transferred, and the `vihara' report was lost in red-tape, the community members said.

The Boudha Parishat was shocked when they received a letter from the administration this month that the land earmarked for the `vihara' had been transferred to the Forest Department for plantation and hence the land could not be given for the `vihara'.

On Buddha Poornima Day, celebrated on Monday, though a number of elected representatives and leaders assured the members of the community in the region that they would help retrieve land for the Buddha `vihara' and also release government funds for the same, the Buddhists community are the wiser now and are not falling to the bait.

Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: May 9, 2001
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