Are we not talking about the same project that ignored the environmental studies of the time that warned against the project in Bodhgaya?
And so, here we are today talking about the situation in Kushinagar, but only after the Maitreya Project was successfully drummed out of Bodhgaya. Even if 40% of the land in question is unproductive, as Linda Gatter has stated in her article, can the region afford to loose the other 60% of productive land?
The flaws which plagued the Maitreya Project when it was being planned for Bodhgaya are the same flaws that plague it today in Kushinagar --- "build it and they will come" --- a philosophy which works good in Hollywood, but not in most other places.
And as for question posed by Linda Gatter, "What can people do with an
education in a desperately poor rural area other than migrate to the cities to find work?"
Well, for starters, the newly educated could find a sustainable industry for the 40% of the land which is unproductive, an industry that doesn't need to depend on tourism, but these newly educated people might also ask Linda Gatter and the supporters of the Maitreya Project a question of their own: "Why not build your amusement park in Dharmasala?"
Whenever one is dealing with Tibetan Buddhism, one is never too far away from spiritual materialism - they walk the path hand in hand when it comes to the Maitreya Project.