Rebuilding of quake-ravaged Gorkha Durbar at snail’s pace


Feb 25, 2019-

Reconstruction work of the earthquake-ravaged Gorkha Durbar, a historically important palace of the Shah kings, is going on at a snail’s pace.

The palace was badly damaged by the 2015 earthquake and its reconstruction work began some 14 months ago.

Kuber Pokharel, a technician at the Department of Archaeology, said only about 25 percent of the reconstruction work has been completed so far.

“Foundation work of the palace is almost complete,” said Pokharel.   

The reconstruction work was initiated by the Pachali Siwa JV Construction on December 17, 2017. As per the contract, the construction company should complete the reconstruction by mid-November this year. The stakeholders have expressed their doubts for the timely completion of the reconstruction project. They claimed that the lackadaisical response of the Department of Archaeology and the concerned authorities, and the negligence of the contractor delayed the reconstruction work.  

An abode of kings from Ram Shah to Prithvi Narayan Shah, the palace was a witness to the unification of the present day Nepal. The palace with historic, archaeological and religious importance was built by Ram Shah, well known for his judicial reforms, in 1666 BS.

The reconstruction work has been halted for the past one week owing to the shortage of timber. “Some 150 cubic feet timber and 32 wooden pillars are immediately needed. The shortage has stopped the construction work,” said Pokharel. According to him, the process to bring the required timber from the Timber Corporation of Nepal has already begun. “We cannot use the locally available wood. Big size wooden pillars are needed as per the standards set by the Department of Archaeology,” said Pokharel. He believes that work will resume within a few days.

The stakeholders also blame the construction company for the delay. Gorkha Durbar Herchaha Adda, the government office that oversees the maintenance of the historic palace, said the reconstruction work could not gather pace as the construction company did not deploy enough workers on the site. “Reconstruction work is slow as there are only eight to ten workers on the site. More workers should be deployed to expedite the reconstruction work,” said Rameshwor Kattel, the acting chief of the office.

According to Kattel, there is another technical issue that has contributed to the delay. “A big rock lies near the throne area and it is not clear whether the rock can be removed or not. Construction work could not be proceed without a report from the structural engineer,” said Kattel.

The local people and tourism entrepreneurs have also expressed their concerns regarding the delay in reconstruction. They have demanded the authorities to conduct a regular monitoring of the reconstruction process and complete the work on time.

Dipak Yogi, a local, said, “Devotees and tourists have difficulties to walk around as construction materials are laid along the way. The reconstruction work needs be intensified.”

Published: 25-02-2019 08:31

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