DoA smells rat in Mahasnanghar collapse

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 3:

Sources at the Department of Archaeology (DoA) said that the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT ) had deliberately demolished the 200-year-old Mahasnanghar to create open space around the temple.They said PADT had never consulted DoA, the government authority, before starting the demolition work.Earlier, PADT had claimed that reconstruction of Mahasnanghar, which collapsed on Tuesday while being reconstructed, was being carried out according to directions from the DoA.

"The PADT never discussed with us prior to the so-called reconstruction of the monument. DoA wrote a letter asking details of the restoration but PADT overlooked that," said an official.

According to Article 3 (1) of the Ancient Monument Protection Act, 2013, any government or other institution should obtain approval from DoA before demolishing or reconstructing ancient structures. The Pashupati area is UNESCO World Heritage site. Due to rampant destruction of traditional fabric around the monument zones, UNESCO has put the Kathmandu Valley in the list of "monuments in danger".

He said that PADT forcefully evicted traditional settlement around the temple when Bal Bahadur KC was the culture minster two years ago. And the Trust also overlooked the warnings of DoA and UNESCO.However, former and incumbent officials of the DoA preferred to remain tight-lipped on the issue. Queen Komal is the chairperson of PADT and culture minister is the vice-chairperson.Director-general of DoA Kosh Prasad Acharya said he is trying his best to resolve the dispute. "Things will be resolved soon."