issue 17 winter 01
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Lumbini Under Threat?

A row has sprung up between India and Nepal over a planned dam near Lumbini, the Buddha's birthplace. The dam is 1km from the border, on the Rivers Danav and Danda which flow into India from Nepal, and is intended to check flooding that damages Indian villages during the monsoon. But Nepalese water experts believe the dam will flood several villages in Nepal, including the birthplace of the Buddha, and displace more than 100,000 people. Indian commentators vehemently deny that the dam poses any such threat, but construction has been halted none the less while the matter is decided. Lumbini is designated a leading world heritage site by Unesco, and the Nepalese Government has plans to develop the town as an international pilgrimage and tourist centre.