A weekend trip to Ghorakatora lake in Rajgir will soon be a different experience.
The state tourism department is working on plans to develop the statue near the lake, a tourist destination in Nalanda.
The department is in the process of selecting the agency, which would prepare a feasibility report and plans for land use, layout, infrastructure, bio-diversity and environment for developing the proposed bio-diversity park with the Buddha statue.
“We want to develop Ghorakatora and its adjoining forest areas in a comprehensive manner. We invited bids for this project in May this year. Later, two foreign companies were shortlisted. However, we found certain faults in the documents that they submitted,” tourism minister Sunil Kumar ‘Pintu’ told The Telegraph on Wednesday.
He said fresh bids were invited last month after their selection was annulled. “Four foreign companies have expressed interest in the project and have submitted their bids. The final selection would be done by the end of this month. The selected company will be given four months to furnish the corresponding master plan comprising the feasibility report,” Pintu said.
Ghorakatora lake falls under Pant Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajgir, situated around 120km south of Patna.
At present, the lake is surrounded by hills, forest and vegetation, identified as forest area. Forest department sources said there are 150 species of plants in the area. Several hundred species of migratory birds visit the lake during winter.
The project would be executed using state funds, tourism department sources said.
The total land area considered for the bio-diversity park is approximately 50 hectares.
The feasibility report would assess the integrated development of the proposed bio-diversity park with the surrounding areas and preservation and restoration of forest. This would include a review of the civic infrastructure, including water supply, sewerage, power, telecommunication and roads.
It would also include the concept, location and size of a tall statue of Buddha at the lake.
The consultant would also carry out an assessment of the environment and actively work with the department to obtain the corresponding clearance.
Based on the feasibility study, environment as well as the social impact assessments, the consultant would prepare a master plan for developing the entire area.
The consultant will carry out a detailed survey of the available land and the surrounding areas before preparing accurate site plans.
The consultant would plan work on the roads and the land adjoining the boundary of the site to develop the surrounding areas and also adequately meet the need for transport linkages.
The master plan would also suggest ways to be adopted to attract national and international tourists at the proposed bio-diversity park.
The selected consultant will be required to suggest the conceptual planning, size and design principles for developing the Buddha statue.
Being an eco-tourism spot, tourist-centric services, including six tum-tums (carriages) and several eco-huts made of bamboo, have been provided around the Ghorakatora lake.