New look pagoda around the corner

Read more below

By BIBHUTI BARIK
  • Published 5.08.13
  •  

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 4: The development and beautification work around the international peace pagoda at Dhauli are likely to start shortly after being in a limbo for over three months.

The Rs 5 crore development project at the famous Buddhist pagoda that began two years ago is meant to provide adequate parking lots with amenities, landscaping and development of the path from the Asoka pillar to the newly opened Dhauli Craft Bazaar, lighting arrangements at the foothills, a sculpture park and installation of Buddha statues at the centre of the Parabuddhi pond and at a slope near a proposed vending zone.

Local resident Sumanta Subuddhi said: “There was no development work for the past three months. After the inauguration of the Dhauli Craft Bazaar on April 10, no development activity was undertaken. In fact, the construction for the bazaar was carried out in March. Due to absence of a proper drainage system, rainwater is accumulating in front of the bazaar.”

The famous Buddhist pagoda at Dhauli was built in 1972 in the memory of the Kalinga war that transformed Chandashok to Dharmashok. Later, emperor Asoka became the greatest visionary in taking Buddhism to the Southeast Asian nations.

As a major tourism destination, however, Dhauli was lacking in minimum facilities, so the tourism department undertook the project two years ago. It was executed by the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC), which looks after the management of the hospitality properties of Odisha tourism.

Director, tourism and managing director of Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) Manoranjan Patnaik said: “The development work is still on and there is no question of stalling it. The pace of work was affected as one of our senior engineers was suddenly transferred and another died of a critical illness.”

“The tourism department held a daylong session on Wednesday for the engineers as they had no prior exposure to the nature of work done by OTDC. I hope the work will speed up soon,” Patnaik added.

Manoranjan Ray, a tourist from Chhatia, said: “My elder brother stays in Bhubaneswar. So I visit here frequently. There are many problems here. While the Parabuddhi pond is full with weeds, the parking lot is still incomplete. The newly opened crafts bazaar has no parking area. Similarly, the broken water kiosks near the pagoda are yet to be repaired. There are no lighting arrangements around the pagoda.”

The tourism director, however, said: “I have instructed the contractors to clean the compound around the Parabuddhi pond immediately. We are planning to build a walkway around the pond with beautiful laterite walls and some carvings like the parikrama done around Bindusagar lake near the Lingaraj temple.”

The Dhauli Craft Bazaar has got its permanent power supply through installation of a transformer by the power utility service provider last month.

Tour operators, however, added that the improvement of the amenities centre near Panthika at the foothills of the pagoda and relocation of the vendors to a particular vending zone were yet to start.

A senior tourism official, on condition of anonymity, said: “Ninety lights were commissioned around the foothills of the pagoda two months ago, but nearly 30 are not working properly.” Two tollgates within a short distance of 100 metres of each other on the road connecting the national highway No. 203 and Dhauli peace pagoda continue to embarrass the tourism officials.

“It is strange that the state government is unable to stop this. While a gate is erected by a construction agency of the Odisha government, the other is by the tourism department, but there should be one unified counter,” said Kulamani Behera, a banker, who visited Dhauli with his friends yesterday.

DHAULI DARTS

Starting line

Rs 5 crore development plan for international peace pagoda mooted in 2011
Tardy progress

Pace of work slowed down due to absence of senior engineers in past three to four months

To be included

Adequate parking lots
Landscaping and development of path from Asoka pillar to Dhauli Craft Bazaar
Lighting arrangements at foothills
Sculpture park
Beautification of Parabuddhi pond
Security arrangements

Amenities lacking

Water kiosks near pagoda on hill top
Vending zone
Inadequate lighting near foothills
Parking lots at picnic spot near ghat
Interpretation centre or counter to distribute printed materials on monument

Troublemaker

Two tollgates within a distance of 100 metres on road connecting NH-203 and Dhauli
peace pagoda continues to embarrass tourism officials