Bus park noise sparks tensions between Bir Hospital and KMC

- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, Kathmandu
In May last year, the bus station in the Old Bus Park had been shifted to Khula Manch

Jun 22, 2017-While Bir Hospital is complaining about noise emanating from the adjacent roads and recently shifted Old Bus Park at the Khula Manch, the Kathmandu Municipality City (KMC) has come up with a strange suggestion: the country’s oldest hospital should rather go away.

Since the Old Bus Park was shifted to the open space in front of the hospital, patients have been facing problem, said Prof Dr Bhupendra Kumar Basnet, hospital director. 

“Honking horn, air and noise pollution have serious impact not only on patients but also on the public,” said Basnet. Basnet shared that the hospital management committee and the health ministry had been informed about the unfavourable situation.  

But the KMC has been adamant over reviewing its decision of shifting the bus park near the hospital. 

“Bus parks should be at the centre of the city. There is no use of shifting the bus park to Tinkune or anywhere on the outskirts of the city,” 

said KMC Spokesperson Gyanendra Karki. “We had no other option but to choose Khula Manch as it is the most accessible location.” 

On possible impact on patients in the hospital due to the decision, the KMC has said that the time has come for the hospital to look for other locations. “I think Bir Hospital should search another place now. This building should be used for research and administration purpose,” suggested Karki. 

However, the hospital authority defends itself also on the ground of public’s ‘accessibility’ to the hospital. 

“We are here to serve the public. Would it be feasible to shift the hospital on the outskirts when public live in the city? If public insist then we are ready to move,” said director Basnet. 

In May last year, the bus station in the Old Bus Park had been shifted to Khula Manch after the KMC and Jaleshwor Swachhanda Bkoi Builders reached an agreement to build a view tower at the location within three years. The erstwhile chief and executive officer of KMC, Rudra Singh Tamang, had said at the time that it was only a temporary move and that it would be shifted back to the original location once a two-storey underground basement is completed in six months’ time. However, it has been more than a year since Khula Manch has been used as the bus park.

However, KMC officials deny that the permission to use Khula Manch as a temporary bus station was given only for six months. According to the KMC, the temporary bus park can be used until the underground basement is not ready. 

“We will shift the bus park as soon as the basement is ready,” added Karki. However, he conceded that the project was progressing “too slowly”. 

According to Mahesh Kafle, chief of the Revenue Division at the KMC, the contractor has only completed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, piling report and public hearing. 

Initially proposed as 29-storey tower, the project was later revised to a 12-storey in the first phase in the wake of the devastating earthquake of 2015. 

Published: 22-06-2017 07:47

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