Prez inspects reconstruction of heritage sites

Kathmandu, February 8

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari today inspected ongoing reconstruction of historical, cultural and religious heritages damaged in the devastating 2015 earthquakes.

According to National Reconstruction Authority, the president paid an inspection visit to the under-construction Rani Pokhari, Dharahara, Kasthamandap and Nautale Durbar (nine-storey palace), and took stock of the progress of reconstruction works.

President Bhandari praised the pace of reconstruction and recovery works of the heritages and monuments.

She also inspected Durbar High School.

NRA Chief Executive Officer Sushil Gyawali told the head of the state that reconstruction and recovery works were accelerated to complete them within the stipulated period.

Four years after the earthquakes, reconstruction of Rani Pokhari and Balgopaleshwor temple, which were completely damaged in the disaster, have finally gained momentum.

NRA claimed reconstruction work of the historic and religious site would be completed by mid-May this year.

Reconstruction work had been in limbo for long after Kathmandu Metropolitan City proposed to rebuild the archaeologically important pond and temple, located in the heart of the city using modern construction materials.

The metropolis wanted to turn the pond into a recreational centre.

The idea of using modern materials without proper homework had irked activists, who later obstructed the reconstruction process of the temple. Following the dispute, the government in December 2017, decided that the pond should be built in the Malla-era design.

The Department of Archaeology has accorded responsibility of reconstructing Basantapur-based Nautale Durbar to the Government of China.

As per an agreement, China will complete reconstruction of the nine-storey palace at a cost of Rs 150 million.

In case of Kasthamandap, the government has targeted completion of the reconstruction work within the current fiscal at a cost of Rs 198.8 million.

The temple will be built in the same old style. Timber Corporation of Nepal provided 17,000 cubic feet timber for reconstruction of the three-storey monument made of wood.

Though reconstruction of the historic Durbar High School is over, it has yet to be handed over to the government.

It was constructed with full support of the Chinese government. According to the DoA, there are 104 archaeological sites that were partially or fully damaged in the earthquakes.

Of 743 structures situated in heritage sites, 417 belong to Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.