General

DoA picked as lead agency for Dharahara project

- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu

Oct 12, 2017-The Nepal Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has picked the Department of Archaeology (DoA) as the lead agency for rebuilding the iconic Dharahara.

Despite Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s insistence on their readiness to carry out the rebuilding of the historic tower, a recent NRA executive committee meeting decided in favour of the DoA.

The nine-storey tower, built in 1832 by then prime minister Bhimsen Thapa, was destroyed in the April 25, 2015 earthquake.

Pointing out delays in works on other reconstruction projects on KMC’s watch--Kasthamandap and Rani Pokhari, NRA Chief Executive Govind Raj Pokhrel told the Post: “Many organisations have showed their commitment to reconstruct the historic tower, only to backtrack later. But this time around, NRA will be working with DoA in consultation with a few other stakeholders.”

“We have forwarded our decision to the Cabinet for approval. We will start the reconstruction process as soon as we have the approval,” he said.

The government had decided to rebuild the iconic monument on its own after the Nepal Telecom reneged on its promise, citing the government failure to assure security to its investment.

The NT had proposed that it would invest around Rs8 billion and manage the property for a period of 30 years after the completion of the structure. But its proposal to use the edifice for the commercial purpose was rejected by the Department of Revenue. The DoA too had expressed its reservation about NT’s plan, saying that using a structure of historical significance for commercial purpose is not a good idea. Despite pulling out of the project, the NT has pledged Rs1 billion for the reconstruction of the monument.

The NRA is currently finalising a modality for the reconstruction of Dharahara.

According to Bhesh Narayan Dahal, director general at the DoA, the new structure will be built on 42 ropanis of land in Sundhara after relocating the Nepal Rastra Bank’s Mint Division and General Post Office. A new structure will be 245-foot high with two elevators but will retain much of its original shape, he said, adding the complex will have a parking lot that can accommodate 270 vehicles. The project will cost an estimated Rs3.6 billion.

Published: 12-10-2017 08:11

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