Activists slam splurge on Rani Pokhari

  • Kathmandu spends Rs 30 million without any tangible results
- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 2, 2018-Culture activists and heritage conservationists have slammed the high expenditure on reconstructing Rani Pokhari, the historic pond in Kathmandu, without any tangible results.

Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has spent Rs 30 million on Rani Pokhari, but there is no significant change in the structure, three years after the earthquake that damaged the pond in 2015.

The historic pond was built under the reign of King Pratap Malla in the 17th century.Talking to the Post, Worldwide Director Arjun Kandel, the contractor of Rani Pokhari reconstruction, said Rs 30 million has spent so far for the overall reconstruction work.

KMC plans to spend an additional Rs 1.6 million to remove the concrete that the metropolis used four months ago. KMC officials said, they would remove all the concrete used in inside the premises of the pond within a week and reconstruction work will resume soon.

Heritage conservationist Alok Siddhi Tuladhar hit KMC hard. “This is not KMC officials’ money. They have squandered taxpayers’ hard-earned money. They are spending money not to reconstruct, but to destroy our ancient monument.”

Tuladhar is one of the leading voices against the KMC’s use of concrete wall in Rani Pokhari.

“The officials involved in preparing the plans and design should pay the amount from their pockets,” he said.Rani Pokhari reconstruction work is in a limbo after the uproar by citizens and heritage experts against concrete wall last December.

The meeting between the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari, KMC Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya and the Department of Archaeology representative Bhesh Narayna Dahal last month decided to remove the 10-foot boundary wall on the southeastern side of the pond.

Recently, after an expert committee recommended reconstructing the pond in its original form. A group of heritage conservationists has filed a complaint at Metropolitan Police Office, Teku, demanding a probe into the matter.

They have filed a complaint against the Department of Archaeology Senior Engineer Sampat Ghimire; KMC Urban Infrastructure Development Department Director Uttar Kumar Regmi; and Contractor Arjun Kandel. They are named defendants in case filed as per clause 3 (1) of the Government Cases Act, Nepal-1993, exercising the right ensured by the Article 32 of the Nepal’s Constitution.

Mayor Shakya refused to comment when Post asked him whether he would take punitive action against the officials for recklessly spending taxpayers’ money.According to the Ancient Monument Preservation Act 2013, any historic building or heritage site built over a hundred years ago has to be preserved in its original form. Talking to the Post Sudarshan Raj Tiwari, and architect and Urban Planner also urged the government to take stringent action against the wrong doers.

“The government should punish the engineer who made the wrong design, and the officials involved in destroying the monument that has historical value,” said Tiwari.The metropolis was responsible for the reconstruction of and renovation of the inner and outer premises of Rani Pokhari that spreads over 63 ropanis of land. After a volley of criticism by culture experts, citizens and conservationist for using concrete in Balgopaleshwor Temple last year, the DoA took charge to reconstruct the temple. The reconstruction work of the temple continues to drag.

Published: 02-05-2018 07:38

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