Renovation of historic Rajkulo on anvil

Lalitpur, May 8 :

Renovation of the partially functional Rajkulo of Lalitpur will commence next week. The first phase of the renovation of the approximately eight km-long Rajkulo — a canal of the Lele River — will help revive historical ponds, irrigate farmlands on the outskirts of Lalitpur, and supply water to aquifers and stone spouts in core city areas.

The Environment and Heritage Conservation Nepal (EHCN) and Lalitpur sub-Metropolitan City are jointly implementing the first phase of the project with the support of Rs 29.9 million from the Indian Embassy. The first phase will see the renovation of the feeder canal, extension of the main canal up to Sunakothi and the improvement of the state of the existing ponds on the outskirts of the district. Prayag Raj Joshi, a water expert and secretary of EHCN, who conducted the study of the Rajkulo, said,

“The first phase that is scheduled for completion in February will supply water for the irrigation of 350 hectares of land, revive five ponds on the outskirts, feed water to two shallow aquifers and aid water flow in 12 stone spouts.”

No donor has come forward to finance the second stage of renovation project, Joshi said. “The second phase is estimated to cost Rs 140 million. The renovation works during the second stage will ensure regular supply of water to five other aquifers and benefit around 40,000 people with easy access to water from stone spouts.”

The third phase that is currently under study is estimated to cost Rs 22 billion and will supply 140 million litres per day.

EHCN President Sagar Shumsher Rana said the implementation committee comprising users’ group, LMC and ECHN will also be responsible for the implementation of the project. Joshi said the first phase of renovation will also discourage encroachment from the local settlers, moving stone quarries away from the river banks, and bringing together people and organisations.

The feeder canal of Rajkulo is only partially functional. The Lele River intake and the main canal from Lele intake to Chapagaon have been damaged at many places and the threat of leakage remains. There is some encroachment on the main canal in its Chapagaon-Thecho and Thecho-Sunakothil stretches. Between Sunakothi and Patan there is no canal.