Mayawati abandons Buddha statue project

The district administration will soon denotify some 527 acres of the 697 acres that were proposed to be acquired for the purpose.

About 273 acres of land has already been acquired and a large part of it was formally handed over to Japan-based Maitreya Foundation, which was to undertake the project.
Maitreya Foundation had drawn up a blueprint to erect a 500-feet-high statue of sitting Buddha - that would be his tallest in the world.

While the entire estimated cost of the project of about $195 million was to be borne by the Japanese foundation, the state government agreed to provide land for it.

The acquisition involved about 2,800 farmers, of whom only about 600 had readily handed over their land.

Encouraged by the farmers movements against acquisition of land in Noida, Greater Noida and other parts of western Uttar Pradesh, the farmers in this part of the state also formed a Bhumi Bachao Sangharsh Samiti (save the land action committee) to raise their voice against the acquisition of land for the Maitreya project.

Committee convenor Govardhan Gaur told reporters in Kushinagar: “We are not against the Buddha project, but we would like to suggest an alternative site, which would not disturb agricultural area.”

Bhatta-Parsaul hit the headlines May 7 when four people, including two policemen, were killed when villagers clashed with policemen while agitating for higher compensation for their lands acquired by the government for developmental projects.

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