Balaju swimming pool ready

KATHMANDU: A swimming pool at Balaju Bais Dhara Park in Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) will be brought into operation from March 31. The Balaju Bais Dhara Park, which is in a sorry state for over a decade now, will also be renovated in the current fiscal year.

According to KMC, the government had transferred the authority of the park, Ratna Park, Ranipokhari and National Assembly Hall to them in 2002. However, all except the National Assembly Hall at Bhrikutimandap are in a dilapidated condition due to lack of proper management. However, they were in a better condition before they were transferred to KMC.

Rabin Man Shrestha, chief, Environment Management Department, KMC, said that the swimming pool will come into operation from March 31. "KMC has allocated Rs 4 million to beautify the park," he said.

The park spread over some 159 ropanies of land, is the only biggest recreation centre in Kathmandu Valley. The park houses a swimming pool, 22 spouts, a pond, a temple and garden. Maoist cadres had pulled down some parts of the park compound wall during the CA election campaign. The compound walls of the park are damaged, water in the pond is filthy, pool is not modernised, water is irregular in taps and trees are dying out. "The park will be renovated and water will flow from some couple of taps this time," claimed Shrestha.

Earlier, KMC tried to adopt Public Private Partnership model for the purpose but to no avail. The KMC also called private sectors for the management of the park in 2005. Neither KMC could sign agreement with any nor did it renovate the park by itself. "We will not allow private sector to run it," said Shrestha. "We will manage ourselves under new management ourselves," he assured.

According to KMC, it costs around Rs 4 million to operate the park annually. However, a meagre entry fee of Rs 5 per person cannot maintain the park's regular expenses. "We can earn at least Rs 100 million every year if the facilities are renovated," said Namaraj Dhakal, financial officer, KMC.