Building being constructed defying apex court order

Kathmandu, January 10

Maharjan Business Associates Pvt Ltd has expedited construction of a commercial complex inside the buffer zone of Basantapur Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage site, defying the Supreme Court order to maintain the height of the building at 35 feet.

The Supreme Court recently had vacated its stay order, allowing Maharjan Business Associates Pvt Ltd to  construct a building not taller than 35 feet at the heritage site buffer zone..

However, the building is likely to exceed the height limit by at least 10 feet given the progress in construction so far.

The builders on October 3, 2016 had acquired permit from Kathmandu Metropolitan City to build the commercial complex under a special provision.

Krishna Lal Maharjan of Maharjan Business Associates Pvt Ltd had also submitted a written commitment to the Department of Archaeology on December 13 and Kathmandu Metropolitan City on December 16 stating that the building they were constructing would not exceed the height limit of 35 feet.

The Ancient Monument Preservation Act does not allow construction of buildings taller than 35 feet in heritage sites. The approved blue print of the building has stated that each floor of the building should not exceed the height limit of seven feet seven inches and the building should not have more than four floors.

Reports prepared by engineers of Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Kathmandu Valley Development Authority on the basis of field visit state that each floor of the building had a height of 10 feet and seven inches — three feet more than the allowed height.

Work on fourth floor of the building is currently under way and its height has already exceeded the prescribed limit.

Builder Krishna Lal Maharjan refused to speak on the matter. “We will let the media know about our work through a press meet,” he said.

Activist Ganapati Lal Shrestha, who has been protesting against construction of the building told The Himalayan Times, “We want to set an example and show that people cannot violate the law of the land.”

The SC has also asked the builders to make public the idol of Kumari and restore it in its original place.