Nepal | November 30, 2020

Under-construction complex endangers Malla-era treasury

Ujjwal Satyal
Share Now:

An under-construction business complex (right) in Basantapur Durbar Square, in Kathmandu, on Wednesday, October 11, 2017. Photo: THT

Kathmandu, October 11

An under-construction business complex, built violating government criteria, close to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Basantapur Durbar Square, has hastened construction work even after local protest and government decree to stop further construction.

Maharjan Business Associates Pvt Ltd on October 3, 2016 had acquired permit from Kathmandu Metropolitan City to build the complex under a special provision required for constructing buildings in heritage sites.

As per the permit, the height of the building should not exceed 35 feet and the ceiling of every floor should not be more than 7-foot-7 tall. Likewise, the building should not have a basement. According to a report by engineers of KMC and Kathmandu Valley Development Authority, the complex already has a large basement built that spreads to almost every corner of 627.98 square meter area land. Likewise, each floor of the building exceeds the height limit by 3 feet and the complex is already 32 feet high when it is still under construction. With the proposed inclined traditional roofs, the building is set to eventually stand 42 feet tall, seven feet more higher than what has been permitted.

In a letter issued by the District Administration Office, Kathmandu September 13, 2017, the DAO has asked KVDA to take necessary measures to halt further construction of the building. KVDA has the right to dismantle illegal structures in Kathmandu.

Development Commissioner of KVDA Bhai Kaji Tiwari, however, said the commission, however, said the construction was not illegal and therefore would take any action against it. Asked about the already constructed basement and the floor height of the complex, which do not comply with parameters of the blueprint of the building, Tiwari said, “KVDA laws allow private residents to go two floors underground. If the metropolis has set the parameters in the blueprint, it should be the metropolis’ duty to look into it.  We are not the concerned body for that.” He also refused to acknowledge that a special set of rules apply for sensitive heritage sites.

Krishna Maharjan of Maharjan Business Associates Pvt Ltd said, “We have already renewed the permit from Kathmandu Metropolitan City that allows us to build a basement of the complex. So we have now every right to it.” He further said some people were deliberately acting against him. “These people don’t notice a 50 feet tall building next to us, but they keep find us as a defaulter,” Maharjan said.

The building construction has endangered an adjoining underground treasury house which dates back to the Malla dynasty. The treasury is made largely impregnable as it is guarded by army personnel manned at surveillance posts on four sides round the clock every day. If anyone wants to enter the treasury, the person needs to take a special permission from the Cabinet.

Locals and activists in the area are now worried that the basement of the complex will put the treasury at risk. A young local activist from Basantapur, Ganapati Lal Shrestha said, “The ongoing construction has created huge sinks in the area, which the constructors cover immediately. We believe that the place has become vulnerable from inside, putting the world heritage site at risk, especially the adjoining ancient treasury.”

Executive Director of Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Museum Aruna Nakarmi said, “Our concern is about the safety of the ancient treasury. We have sent several letters requesting Maharjan Business Associates, and concerned government bodies to halt the building construction and bury the basement, but no action has been taken, yet, in that direction.”

Maharjan Business Associates recently rebuilt a facility of Nepali Army.

The under-construction building site used to be a location of the Kumari shrine and Nasal God according to local people. The Nasal God which now lay outside the premises of the site was reconstructed by Maharjan Associates after a protest by locals.

Maharjan said “We value sentiments of the people, and we will restore the deity in its rightful place, but they are our private god so it’s not necessary to make a fuss about it.”

Some people in Basantpur area, who wanted not to be named, said that, though god can have private owners in their culture, no one is allowed to keep it for themselves. “We remember — there, as kids when we used to visit the Kumari temple with our grandparents — it was there, but now we don’t know where it is,” a local said.

 


A version of this article appears in print on October 12, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Floodlit cricket series starts in Dhangadhi

DHANGADHI: The first day/night or floodlit cricket series of the country has started in Dhangadhi of Kailali district from Saturday. The cricket series organised by Shikhar Youth Club, Dhangadhi is being played at the cricket ground in Dhangadhi Sub-Metropolitan City-13. According to Annat Bo Read More...

National Covid-19 tally reaches 231,978 on Sunday with 1255 fresh infections

KATHMANDU: The countrywide Covid-19 tally reached 231,978 as 1255 additional infections emerged on Sunday. The capital hosts the highest amount of active cases which, on an average, reports half of the daily reported live infections. Likewise, 1404 people who were earlier infected with the vir Read More...

25 more fatalities registered today; Covid-19 death-toll advances to 1,479

KATHMANDU: Twenty-five more fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours with which Nepal’s Covid-19 death-tally has now advanced to 1,479. Meanwhile, 1,255 fresh coronavirus cases as reported today took the nationwide coronavirus case count to 231,978. Over 1.4 million deaths from the dis Read More...

2020's last lunar eclipse to be witnessed on November 30

KATHMANDU: The last lunar eclipse of 2020, a Penumbral one in which the moon passes through Earth's outer shadow, is on November 30. A penumbral lunar eclipse is less alike to other eclipses and much like a full moon except the moon will be a shade darker. This eclipse will be visible from muc Read More...

Kathmandu Valley records 548 new cases on Sunday

KATHMANDU: The three districts of Kathmandu Valley reported a total of 548 new cases of coronavirus infection on Sunday. Of the new cases, 244 are females and 304 are males. As many as 422 cases were recorded in Kathmandu district while Lalitpur and Bhaktapur reported 61 and 65 cases respectiv Read More...

Afghanistan car bombing kills at least 30 security force personnel

KABUL: A car bombing in the Afghanistan's central province of Ghazni killed at least 30 Afghan security force members on Sunday, officials said, and casualties could increase given the intensity and location of the blast. Baz Mohammad Hemat, director of the provincial hospital in Ghazni, said Read More...

Here to take China-Nepal relations to a new height: Chinese Defense Minister

KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 29 The State Councilor and Defense Minister of China Wei Fenghe has asserted that his short visit to Nepal intends to enforce the bilateral agreements inked between the President of Nepal and China, and Heads of the governments between the two countries over different periods Read More...

Smith hits second straight ton as Australia post 389-4 vs India

SYDNEY: Steve Smith led an imperious display from Australia's top-order batsmen with his second straight century as the hosts piled on a massive 389 for four against India's listless bowlers in the second one-day international in Sydney on Sunday. The match followed a script similar to Fr Read More...