Building of shopping complex protested

Himalayan News Service

Lalitpur, June 28:

The residents of Lagankhel have protested the construction of a shopping complex by the Namuna Machhindra School along the road leading to Satdobato from Lagankhel claiming the construction site is an ancient pond and that the school was encroaching the land. Udaya Man Shrestha, the chairman of Lalitpur Environment Conservation Committee (LECC) said that the construction site was a pond and a public property with cultural significance and that they would leave no stones unturned to stop the construction of the shopping complex. "We are going to file a case against this encroachment," he said. The new construction will also affect the beauty of Ashoka Stupa, believed to be constructed in the third century BC by Indian Emperor Ashoka, Shrestha further said.

He also informed that the then headmaster of the school Narayan Das Shrestha had promised to conserve the pond in 1977, when he acquired the land for the school. He also claimed that the documents, which the school has presented to claim the land to be under its ownership, is either fake or is obtained through illegal means. In this connection officers at the Department of Archaeology today visited the site and they said that a decision would be soon made to conserve the area. Cultural expert Satya Mohan Joshi said that the construction site was in fact a pond and was related with the festival of Rato Machhindranath.

"Earlier, after the festival of the Rato Machhindranath ended, the priests used to go to the nearby Bhairava temple for secret worship and set free a pair of birds in the sky and a pair of fish in the pond," he said. On the contrary, the vice-principal of the school Nanu Baba Dawadi said that the school has all the documents necessary to prove the ownership of the land. "People with some vested interest are making issue of the construction of the new shopping complex, which will help run the school more efficiently in financial terms," she said adding that the fund provided by the government to run the school was not enough.