Buddhists in Shimla demand PWD to handover monastery

ANI, January 23, 2010

Shimla, India -- Buddhists have been demanding the legal possession of a monastery in Rampur town of Shimla district from the Himachal Pradesh Public Works Department (PWD).

The foundation stone of the monastery was laid down by Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on 5th January 1990.

It then took 16 years and a total cost of one crore rupees for the completion of the Buddhist temple.

But since its inauguration in 2006, the Public Works Department (PWD) has continued to legally possess the monastery, which should have been under the Bhima-Kali Temple Trust of Rampur.

"The temple was inaugurated on 28 October 2006 by the Dalai Lama, but on the opening day, the PWD did not hand over the temple to the Bhima-Kali Trust. This made the locals speculate that there may be some construction flaws associated with the temple, which the PWD is not citing. But in only three years, the walls of the monastery have started crumbling, and there is seepage. However, the PWD is not doing anything about the dilapidating condition of the temple building," said Bihari Sahyogi, a local resident.

Considering the battered condition of the temple, the Buddhist residents of the area have demanded that the ownership of the monastery be handed over to the Trust so that it can be taken care of.

Officials of the Public Works Department, however, have assured that the matter will be looked into at the earliest.

"PWD is currently handling the maintenance of the monastery. But after this issue, I will ask the senior officers in the department to send a detailed report of the monastery to the government. After the report has been sent and scrutinized, the matter of the maintenance and the upkeep of the temple will be investigated," said Gulab Singh Thakur, PWD minister, Himachal Pradesh.

As per the PWD norms, any private or public property after inauguration is handed over to the concerned person, trust or department. But in this case, the rule has been violated.