GAYA: District magistrate (DM) Kumar Ravi on Friday forwarded Buddhist spiritual leader Dalai Lama's request letter seeking permission to make an additional floor in the three-storey Tibetan monastery to the Bodh Gaya Nagar Panchayat, the body empowered to approve building plans in the holy city. 

The area where the proposed auditorium along with elevator is to be built falls in the buffer zone where UNESCO guidelines do not approve any new construction or repair work. The DM said it is for the civic body to strike a balance between the spiritual leader's stature and UNESCO guidelines. 

According to Bodh Gaya watchers, tourist footfall in Bodh Gaya is bound to register sizeable increase if the proposed three-week annual sojourn of the Buddhist leader becomes a reality. No less important is the world heritage tag and in the past, the world cultural body has delivered veiled threats to de notify the shrine if its guidelines were not properly followed. 

Besides being in conflict with the UNESCO guidelines, the proposed constructions may also affect the shrine's security. The security issue has assumed more importance following the low intensity serial blasts engineered by Indian Mujahideen, the terrorist outfit having sleeper modules in Bihar as well as in neighbouring Jharkhand.