Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday made a strong demand to include Nalanda historical sites in the UNESCO heritage list as had been done for Bodh Gaya.

He demanded the Centre make an earnest effort for inclusion of Nalanda sites in UNESCO list. "As we are putting sincere efforts for Nalanda University, similar hard work is needed for winning UNESCO status for Nalanda historical sites," Kumar said while addressing a function on release of a book by former chief minister and JD(U) leader Jagannath Mishra in Patna.

Kumar said the UNESCO tag attracts more tourists, particularly foreigners, to a site. He said the number of foreign tourists visiting Bihar was expected to rise to 10 lakh in 2012 which signals that the state has emerged as a choice of tourists from outside the country.

He said more foreign tourists were coming now to Bihar than Goa. "If we manage to increase 3-4 more international level sites, this number can multiply." The chief minister also asked the Centre to assist the state in excavation of historical sites of Vaishali, Chirand in Chhapra and Vikramshila in Bhagalpur district to convert them into international level tourist spots.

(Agencies)

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