Reconstruction of Rani Pokhari yet to begin

Kathmandu, June 18

Reconstruction of Rani Pokhari has yet to begin although the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari and Kathmandu Metropolitan City Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya had pledged to begin reconstruction work by May 15.

KMC officials said they were working on a new blue print for reconstruction as per the suggestions offered by an 11-member expert committee.

National Reconstruction Authority, Department of Archaeology and KMC had, on December 28, 2017, formed the committee and entrusted it with suggesting the reconstruction model of the historical site.

The committee had suggested that all structures in the pond, including the temple of Bal Gopaleshwor, be restored according to their Malla-era design. Three members of the committee, who are also employees of DoA, however, have not signed the report.

Built by King Pratap Malla in 1670, the Balgopaleshower temple was originally built in Dharma Kuth aka Shikara style. The temple was later rebuilt in Mughal style after it was damaged in the great earthquake of 1934.

KMC spokesperson Gyanendra Karki said it would take some more time to begin the reconstruction work, as they had not yet started the process of hiring contractors. Karki, however, refused to divulge in which model they were planning to rebuild the Balgopaleshower temple.

KMC can call for contractors to bid for the project in accordance with the public procurement act only after the Department of Archaeology approves the blue print and completes the work plan for construction of Rani Pokhari. Considering this long process, it is almost sure that work on reconstruction of the historic pond will not begin any time soon.

Reconstruction had been halted multiple times after locals and activists protested the use of modern technology and materials.

A total of Rs 25 million was wasted after a dispute emerged among locals, Department of Archaeology, and Kathmandu Metropolitan City regarding the model of the temple. Earlier, Worldwide Kandel KN KG JV was given the contract to reconstruct Rani Pokhari.