1. Agriculture World

Farmer's Protest against Construction of Maitreya Buddha Statue & Demand Remaining 600 acres Back

Dr. Sangeeta Soi
Dr. Sangeeta Soi

Maitreya is believed to be a successor to Gautam Buddha. A state government spokesperson said the Bharatiya Janata Party government of 2002, led by Rajnath Singh, had decided to install a statue of Gautam Buddha in UP after two 6th-century monumental statues of Gautam Buddha in Bamiyan valley of Afghanistan were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. 

On May 9, 2003, an MoU for the project with Maiterya Buddha Trust has been signed by  the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government. Under the agreement, it was decided that state government would provide land while the Trust would bear the expenditure of the project. 

The project also included an educational institute, hospital, and guest house as part of the project. The government announced the acquisition of 850 acres for the project, and farmers were to receive Rs 3.9 million per acre as compensation. Under successive governments, 250 acres was acquired in phases and farmers received compensation. However, the project has not made much headway over the years. The foundation of the project was led by the then chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in 2013. 

Till date, the trust has been given possession of 180-acre he added, with 70 acres to be handed over soon, he added. An unnamed spokesperson of the Maitreya Project Trust said the spiritual head of the project Lama Zopa Rinpoche had been holding discussions with the district administration regarding the construction of the statue and other projects. He also added that “The height of the statue has been cut down from 500 feet to 200 feet as an airport is coming up near the site,” he said. 

As per the directives of district administration, construction of the statue will start after the Lok Sabha elections.  But it is due to too much delay that farmers are in agitation and  demand remaining 600 acres be handed over to them. 

Leader of a farmers’ organisation Bhoomi Bachao Sangharsh Samiti Govardhan Gaur said, “It’s the longest dharna organised by farmers in the country.” 

The  main statement of farmers is that they will  support the party which would ensure the construction of the statue and return of the remaining 600 acre land for which the state government had issued notification for acquisition. 

Delay in the project in spite of its benefits in tourism and economical aspects of nation have made farmers angry as they are not assured of the completion of project.  Justice in this case has been assured by Kushinagar RPN Singh, BJP’s Vijay Kumar Dubey and SP’s Nathuni Prasad Kushwaha.  

District magistrate, Kushinagar, Anil Kumar Singh has assured that  the construction of Maitreya Buddha statue will start after the election. “The process for the return of land to farmers will also start after the polls”. 

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