| The Mahabodhi temple decorated for the Buddha Poornima fest, starting May 17, in Bodhgaya on Sunday. Picture by Suman |
Gaya, May 15: Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) is set to run social service along side religious affairs.
BTMC is celebrating the 2600th year of enlightenment of Lord Buddha as Buddha Poornima at Bodhgaya on May 17. Governor Devanand Konwar would be the chief guest for the functions.
Nangzey Dorjee, member secretary, BTMC, told The Telegraph that a charitable clinic would start operations on the campus of the temple committee’s office on May 17.
The clinic would provide health check-up and first-aid free of cost. BTMC also plans to launch an ambulance service soon at Bodhgaya, said Dorjee. He added that the ambulance would be equipped with the latest facilities.
The donations, money receipts and camera fee that the BTMC earns from tourists and visitors to the world heritage site, Mahabodhi Mahavihara, would sponsor these activities.
Tourists are charged Rs 20, Rs 300 and Rs 500 as fees for still camera, portable video camera and large video camera respectively.
BTMC has been responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the world heritage site, and thus empowered to charge various fees and receive donations.
In 2010-11, the total income of BTMC crossed Rs 4 crore. Details of the income and expenditure were presented at a BTMC meeting held yesterday.
Gaya district magistrate-cum-BTMC chairperson Bandana Preyashi presided over the meeting.
According to reports presented at the meeting, BTMC earned around Rs 4.26 crore during the 2010-11 fiscal of which nearly Rs 2.22 crore was spent. Thus, there was net income of around Rs 2.03 crore.
Sources said there has been an increase of around Rs 1 crore in the income of BTMC compared to that in last year. During the 2009-10 fiscal, the income of BTMC was around Rs 3.91 crore of which almost Rs 2.87 crore was earned by way of donations. BTMC now has around Rs 12.4 crore in its bank account.
Foreign and Indian tourists flock to Bodhgaya to visit the world heritage site. During the peak season — from November to February — there is huge congregation of devotees from Buddhist, European and Asian countries apart from the northeastern states.
According to the tourism department data, around 96,000 foreign tourists visited Gaya and Bodhgaya in 2010. Recently, Bodhgaya nagar panchayat has also passed a resolution to impose $1 tourist tax from October this year.