THT 10 years ago: Forest road threatens Pashupatinath’s status

Kathmandu, July 5, 2008

A Nepali official said today he did not know how to respond to the queries that might be fielded at the meeting of the World Heritage regarding the construction of an access road that passes through Shlesmanthak forest lying near the Pashupatinath temple and links Tilganga with Guheshowri.

The meeting of the committee, responsible for the conservation of World Heritage Sites, is underway in Quebec of Canada. According to the Department of Archaeology, the committee is sure to field queries regarding the road construction.

But the DoA does not know how to respond. Director-general of the DoA, Kosh Prasad Acharya, said the failure to provide the meeting with a convincing justification for the road construction may lead to listing of Pashupatinath as a monument in danger. The list of World Heritage Sites is maintained by the World Heritage Committee, which comprises 21 states elected by a general assembly of state parties.

In 2008, 660 cultural, 166 natural and 25 mixed properties of 141 countries were listed as World Heritage Sites. Acharya said the department has no answer for questions related to the road, which was “built overnight by some unknown group” at the cost of the conservation of the holy site. Acharya will be representing Nepal in the Quebec meeting.

Cadres of the YCL had built the road in September 2007 without government approval. Undermining the sanctity of the Hindu shrine, hundreds of trees were felled during the construction. The road divides through the holy forest of Shleshmantak into two.

Sobhraj finds mouthpiece in Nihita

Kathmandu, July 5, 2008

In his latest and youngest heartthrob Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj, who is serving a life term on murder charge, has found a new spokesperson to articulate his virtues.

NihitaBiswas, who was shying away from media till yesterday, spoke to the national and international media today defending the charges against Sobhraj. A student of the St Mary’s College,Nihita described Sobhraj as a normal and caring man.

“Media always puts Sobhraj in a bad light,” she said. “His humility and caring nature struck me when I first met him in the Central Jail. I came to know that he was looking for an interpreter. I was already interested in Charles and the job was something I wanted to do,” she said.

“When I met, the job was over. But he gave me some other work.” Biswas said she was impressed during their first meeting. “Our love blossomed with every meeting,” she added.

Biswas said, “Age does not matter in a relationship as long as you feel comfortable with each other.” Biswas kept mum about her family and the place where she lives. She said they planned to marry in France once Sobhraj was released, adding that she would take up journalism.