THT 10 YEARS AGO: Dharahara to get a new home in Ratna Park

Kathmandu, April 1, 2006

Kathmandu’s skyline may soon change for the better if the authorities relocate Dharahara, the valley’s most famous landmark, to Ratna Park. Plans are on the anvil to shift the monument from the congested Sundhara area. A committee of experts which went into this issue has suggested Ratna Park as the new home for Dharahara. The committee submitted its report to the Kathmandu Municipal Corporation recently. It suggested shifting of the tower as its structure is being weakened by increasing pollution and vibrations from vehicles. It also said the structure is located in an extremely vulnerable seismic zone. The committee which was headed by well known British architect Peter Sellers conducted extensive studies on the monument using sophisticated equipment. The committee also cautioned that the life of the tower could be reduced if immediate conservation measures are not initiated. It suggested hiring of the Paris-based Monument Relocation Centre (MRC) to carry out the relocation process. The MRC, incidentally, has an enviable track record. It relocated a few Pyramids in Egypt, ancient temples in India and a few Mayan structures in Peru. Its most recent project is the relocation of a few temples in the Madhya Pradesh state of India which were submerged by the Narmada dam project. When contacted, MRC head, Ms Lirpa Loof, confirmed they had been sounded out by Peter Sellers about the project. “We are awaiting an official word from the Nepal Government.

Street children at greater risk of HIV infection, says study

Kathmandu, March 30, 2006

A total of 73.5 per cent and 36.4 per cent of the sexually active street-based boys and girls respectively are prone to high-risk sex behaviour, according to a Study on ‘Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices and Beliefs in the Context of HIV/AIDS among Out-of-School Street-based Children in Kathmandu and Pokhara’. The study, conducted on street-based children in 70 localities of Kathmandu and 19 localities of Pokhara, covered rag-pickers, porters, conductors, beggars, street-based commercial sex workers and streetbased criminals in 2005. According to the study, 31.8 per cent and 21.6 per cent of the street-based boys and girls are sexually active. The study was jointly conducted by Child Welfare Scheme in Pokhara and Sath Sath in Kathmandu with the technical support of CREHPA and UNESCO Kathmandu. According to the study, although respondents possess basic knowledge about HIV/AIDS, practical knowledge on the basic facts of transmission, their preventive actions are limited and unclear. A total of 73 per cent of boys and 76 per cent of girls know that a person can get infected with HIV/AIDS by having unprotected sex.