Graveyard at TUTH obstructs college building construction

KATHMANDU: The proposed construction of a medical college building at TU Teaching Hospital  premises has been in limbo, despite the lack of physical infrastructure necessary to run academic activities there.

Though the Hospital has got enough land, unaccounted for bodies have been buried there for a long time. What's more,  a large number of unattended dead bodies piled since 2015 earthquake are awaiting the burial in the same land  where the Hospital administration has planned to construct the building.

Acting Campus Chief  Rohit Kumar Pokharel said, "We are planning to erect a seven-storey state-of-the-art building in three ropani land. But, the bodies of the unidentified persons including foreigners killed during the earthquake have to be buried expanding the graveyard area, which again would encroach upon the proposal sites of construction."

Building construction in the space has been halted after 32 dead bodies of Nepalis and others of foreigners, whose identity was still unascertained.

The campus administration said that no decision had been taken whether to shift the dead bodies or to incinerate, adding that the campus administration had no authority to dispose the dead bodies of the foreigners on its own discretion.

Pokharel said that preparations were on to coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the management of the dead bodies including that of foreigners.

Harihar Wasti, Chief of Department of Forensic Medicine, however, said that he was ignorant about the issue relating to the construction of the building albeit he had heard the rumour.

Wasti shared," The dead bodies have been buried in the land here for more than four decades. Thousands of corpses have been buried over the decades."

According to him, once a corpse is buried in a place, no other dead body could be buried in the same place. Hence, problems arise in the management of the yet-to-be-ascertained dead bodies due to a lack of adequate space and land.

"The government should pay attention to the proper management of such corpses," he argued.

The new building will feature advanced lab and research centre, said  Pokharel, adding that the construction of a new building was taken into consideration due to the lack of physical infrastructure to run more than 50 programmes currently  run  in the Maharajgunj- based Medical College.