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Shop shift plan on hold

Gaya, Aug. 3: The proposed plan to shift shops out of Mahabodhi shopping complex has been suspended for the time being, much to the relief of the shopkeepers, who have been under the threat of relocation since 2008.

Total 58 shops are there at the complex. Of them, Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) owns 27, Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) owns 23 and the remaining eight are owned by the Bodhgaya Nagar Panchayat.

The Magadh division commissioner, Vivek Kumar Singh, has written a letter to the state tourism department asking it to send a team of officials to Bodhgaya for interaction with the local shopkeepers and discuss the matter of shifting of shops with them. Singh asked the principal secretary of the tourism department, Deepak Kumar, to personally visit Bodhgaya and interact with the shopkeepers.

Earlier, July 31 was fixed as the deadline for shifting the shops from the Mahabodhi shopping complex. The shopkeepers were asked to shift within the deadline, failing which their shops would be sealed.

Bodhgaya Nagar Panchayat executive officer Sushil Kumar Mishra told The Telegraph that the government was firm on shifting the shops but it has been stayed as of now. The only development is that the shopkeepers have been provided an option of shifting to Node I near Dak Bungalow, along the road that leads to Domuhan, and Node II, which is on the Falgu river side.

The Bodhgaya Nagar Panchayat executive officer initiated the preliminary steps to ensure the shifting of the shops around the world heritage Mahabodhi Mahavihara after directions of the Magadh division commissioner and the district magistrate of Gaya, who is also the ex-officio chairperson of BTMC.

On the direction of the senior officers, the executive officer held a meeting with the shopkeepers of Bodhgaya on July 19 to convince them to relocate. But there was no solution to the impasse and the shopkeepers demanded that the principal secretary of the tourism department should visit Bodhgaya and listen to their grievances.

The BSTDC has 221 shops and five restaurants at Bodhgaya through the central public works department. BTMC, which owns 27 shops at the Mahabodhi shopping complex, also has no immediate plans of shifting the shops.

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