Nepal | August 08, 2020

Retrofitting of Singha Durbar resumes amid lockdown

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, May 16

Retrofitting work of the main building of Singha Durbar, which came to a standstill for more than one-and-a-half months after the outbreak of COVID-19, has resumed amid the lockdown.

Jhappar Singh Bishwakarma, deputy director at Central Level Project Implementation Unit (Building) under the National Reconstruction Authority, said retrofitting of the western facade of the main complex had been initiated from the plinth level. Though the work started in October, it was halted towards Marchend following the nationwide lockdown.

“Retrofitting of the western facade has resumed and workers are giving final touches to the remaining three facades by adhering to prescribed precautionary measures and social distancing rule. Retrofitting of the northern, southern and eastern facades have already been completed,” he said. Contract for retrofitting was awarded to Sharma-Gauri-Parvati-New Technical JV.

Construction workers and other staffers have been provided with protective face-masks and sanitisers.

They are working by maintaining social distance, besides undergoing regular health check-up. The construction site has also been disinfected as part of preventive measure against COVID-19.

Laxmi Subedi, a representative from the contractor company said there was regular thermal scanning of all workers during their entry and exit.

As many as 119 labourers have been deployed for the retrofitting work.

They eat and live on the premises of Singha Durbar to ensure that they don’t come in touch with other people outside.

The estimated budget for retrofitting all facades is around Rs 620 million. The NRA had decided to preserve the original structure of the main complex through retrofitting. A study had showed that retrofitting was a better option to keep the originality of the historical building intact.

According to the finding of the study, there was no major damage to the walls.

However, the wood used in the building for windows and doors had to be replaced in the course of retrofitting.

NRA said retrofitting had been done in line with the government’s concept of preserving archaeological heritages and monuments.

The iconic building of the government’s administrative headquarters was damaged in the 2015 earthquakes.

The structure was built in 1908 by the then prime minister Chandra Shumsher JBR during the Rana regime.

The building has unique aesthetic and archaeological value.

Meanwhile, a press release issued by NRA said reconstruction works of Ranipokhari and Dharahara would also resume soon amid the lockdown.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 17, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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