Buddhist theme park at Futala in cold storage

TNN, Jun 8, 2011

NAGPUR, India -- On December 23, 2009, the then chief minister Ashok Chavan on December 23, 2009 announced during the assembly session in Nagpur that a Buddhist theme park would be set up at Telangkhedi lake.

The park, part of Chavan's Rs 10,000 crore 'Vidarbha Package', was to be set up in three years. The project was to be monitored by the chief secretary and a provision of Rs 3.30 crore was also promised.

Two-and-a-half years on, the proposed park seems to have been dumped in cold storage.

Information sought under the RTI Act by Prakash Bansod, president of Dalit Panther of India, says the Buddhist theme park finds no place in the administrative sanction to various works to be undertaken for tourism development this year.

Information sought by Bansod from the tourism department states that government has made a provision of over Rs 27 crore this year for tourism development. Of this, a provision of Rs 1 crore has been made to develop Futala or Telangkhedi lake.

The works to be done by the PWD includes some construction and digging works, granite flooring, benches, interlocking paver blocks etc. However, Buddhist park finds no mention, indicating that the project was just a hollow promise.

"The Congress has fooled the Dalit people by making a fake promise. The then chief minister had also announced Rs 50 lakh for redevelopment of museum in the city but no financial provision has been made," alleged Bansod.

On the contrary, Sunil Gujjalwar, superintending engineer of Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT), says the minor works sanctioned at Futala this year have nothing to do with the theme park.

"The Buddhist theme park is a long-term mega project which will require at least Rs 100 crore. The NIT is in process of preparing expression of interest and a survey is being done. Such projects cannot be completed overnight," Gujjalwar stressed.