Kathmandu, September 10
The Department of Archaeology today issued a written request to various government bodies to respect the interim order of the Supreme Court and immediately halt the ongoing construction of a commercial building at the buffer zone of UNESCO World Heritage Site at Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square.
The building is being constructed in violation of the Ancient Monument Act as well as the blueprints approved by Kathmandu Metropolitan City.
The SC interim order had asked the government and concerned agencies to stop the construction of the building. The builder had however speeded the building process even after the SC’s order and not a single government body had taken initiative to stop it.
Executive Director of Propublic Senior Advocate Prakash Mani Sharma and 16 others had on April 23, filed a public interest litigation case. Maharjan Business Associates Pvt Ltd was building the commercial complex turning deaf ears to the protests of locals, activists and government bodies. The builders had halted work for nearly two months following the SC stay order, but again started it.
A joint report of the KMC and Kathmandu Valley Development Authority stated that the construction violated the blueprint approved by KMC. It also suggested that the builders should fill the illegally constructed basement of the building and maintain the height limit allowed in the buffer zone of world heritage sites. The Ancient Monument Act does not allow construction of basement at heritage sites.
The DoA has asked the KMC, DAO, police and Kathmandu Valley Development Authority, Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Museum, and the office of Ward No 24 not to allow construction.
A version of this article appears in print on September 11, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.