Reconstruction of Rani Pokhari yet to resume

- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu

Dec 8, 2016-When the government formally launched the reconstruction campaign on January 16, almost nine months after the devastating earthquake, Rani Pokhari was made the starting point, where President Bidya Devi Bhandari laid the foundation stone of a temple there which was destroyed by the quake. 

Another nine months have passed and the reconstruction campaign in the quake-hit districts is yet to gather pace. And there has been dismal progress in Rani Pokhari. 

Reconstruction of Yamaleshwor Temple in the middle of the pond though had started, criticism over negligence on the part of the contractor that archaeological and cultural norms were not being followed led to the halt of works. 

The UN cultural agency also in September expressed its concerns about the inappropriate rebuilding of Rani Pokhari, a historic structure of religious importance dating back to 1670 AD.

Rani Pokhari is considered among the most famous landmarks in Kathmandu.

The Kathmandu Metropolitan City on October 21 handed the reconstruction task of the temple to the Department of Archaeology (DoA). Since then, no work has been carried out.  

Construction of the quake ravaged Yamaleshwor was supposed to be rebuilt before this Tihar.

The National Reconstruction Authority has allotted Rs 120 million for the project. 

Now, the authorities have drained the water from the pond. 

“This pond was the only open space in the middle of urban chaos, that would give relief to eyes, and it used to be refreshing to see the fish,” said Shiva Ram Dawadi, who owns a book shop in Bhotahiti. “But it is ruined now. All I can see is a dirty space.”

The Kathmandu Metropolitan City, which was responsible for the reconstruction of the temple, earlier relocated fishes to Balaju Park. The remaining fishes are being shifted to Kamal Pokhari on Wednesday.  

When asked, DoA Spokesperson Ram Kunwar said he was no aware of the current status of Rani Pokhari. “As the DoA has been tasked with reconstruction work, we need to allocate budget again as it has to be constructed using traditional construction materials,” said Kunwar.

Published: 08-12-2016 08:15

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