Govt likely to take over City Hall mgmt

- SAMIK KHAREL, Kathmandu

Dec 27, 2014-

The management of the recently refurbished City Hall is likely to be taken over by the government with new provisions and conditions to lease the venue to organising parties. The government is set to standardise events at the hall, which also hosted the Saarc Summit last month.

Immediately after the summit, the government had also formed a taskforce to study long term prospects of the hall and whether the current management of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) was efficient enough to run the venue. The interim report to be submitted by the taskforce this week is likely to determine the future course of the hall.

According to Sambhu Kc, chief at the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUBDC) and also a member of the taskforce, the hall is likely to be under the government for the time being. “ We will be taking over the management, considering future conferences to be hosted in Nepal,” said Kc. “But this is a short-term plan and the hall will be handed over to KMC again”. An initial finding of the taskforce has determined that the hall will no longer be leased on fragments and organisers will have to rent the full premises including the lobby, main hall, holding room and parking lot. The charges set by the taskforce for leasing the overall structure for a day is tentatively Rs 150, 000 which is a significant increase from the Rs 35, 000 charged under the metropolis’ management. “We have planned to increase the price to set the standards of the programmes to be hosted at the venue,” said Kc. KMC used to raise Rs 5 million to 9 million in revenue annually by renting the hall, while the new management plans to divide 80 percent of the income to a reserved trust while 20 percent will be used for regular maintenance.

 After the recent make over, City Hall, which now boasts 480 seats, a resting room and well-equipped air conditioning has been eagle eyed by various concerned authorities. As part of Saarc preparations, the government had authorised the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC) to renovate the hall and invested around Rs 180 million for the purpose. The department carried out the job in 90 days. Another suggested model provisions to involve various stakeholders together in the board and run the venue through an independent management like the International Convention Centre, which is governed by a board that comprises representatives from government authorities and entities like the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries.

However, the unions associated with the KMC have expressed dissatisfaction over the government’s move to take over the hall, warning the government to shut down overall operations of their office and the City Hall. The government, earlier, had handed over the City Hall management to KMC 13 years ago after it failed to properly operate and market it. Around 150 staffers were then hired under KMC to manage the hall.

 

Published: 28-12-2014 10:17

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