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Halt Rani Pokhari reconstruction

Monday, August 29th, 2016
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Photo credit: Min Ratna Bajracharya

The Department of Archeology (DoA) has directed Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) to halt the reconstruction of Rani Pokhari effective from Monday.

The reconstruction task being carried out at Rani Pokhari, a 17th-century heritage site, is against existing standards, according to the DoA. Bhesh Narayan Dahal of the DoA said the department has asked the KMC to demolish whatever work has been completed so far.

The DoA claimed that concrete materials like cement, sand and rods have been used in rebuilding the Balgopaleswor Temple, which stands at the heart of Rani Pokhari. It was destroyed by the 25 April earthquake.

Youth activists have also been staging protests against the use of concrete materials in the reconstruction.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari had inaugurated the National Reconstruction Campaign from Rani Pokhari on the first anniversary of the earthquake.

Arjun Kandel of Worldwide Kandel KNKG Joint Venture, the contractor of the reconstruction project, claimed that his company used concrete materials in rebuilding the historic site because the same type of materials had been used before the damage incurred.

“There was a pillar on the outer area of the old temple before the quake, and we just followed the same design,” said Kandel.

The KMC has a budget of Rs 120 million to restore Rani Pokhari, which was built by King Pratap Malla in 1671 to console his bereaved wife after the death of their child.

Balgopaleswor Temple is open to the public once a year on the day of Bhaitika. The popular festival Chhath is also celebrated at Rani Pokhari.

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