KATHMANDU, Oct 11: The government has said it is unaware of the deal between Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (APECF) and the UK-based Vertical Theme Park (VTP) group on developing Lumbini as an international peace city.
The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) on Thursday said the deal said to have been reached between APECF and VTP would not hold any meaning as the government of Nepal does not have any representation, nor is it aware of any such deal.
“We are not aware of the deal. Since there is no participation of the government, the deal holds no meaning,” said Joint Secretary Bishnu Raj Karki, who heads the culture division at MoCTCA.
Karki said the government is not aware as to what type of peace city these organizations want to build. “If they come up with a proposal to us, we will see whether we can accept the proposal while considering its compatibility with our norms,” he further said. “But at this stage, it does not even deserve a comment.”
Last year, APECF had announced to have reached an agreement with the UN´s Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on developing Lumbini as an international peace city. The deal had later courted controversy as the government said it had no knowledge of the deal.
APECF´s involvement in the proposed Lumbini Project drew political attention mainly because UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal acted as co-chairman of the foundation. Later a five-member Lumbini Development Committee led by Dahal was formed for the development of Lumbini.
One of the members of the Dahal-led steering committee Dr Minendra Rijala said the deal does not hold any significance as there was no participation from Nepali side.