Mayor Shakya’s team calls it a ‘fusion’ project to merge modern urban needs with traditional heritage. But activists have been up in arms about the use of concrete, and the construction of a ferro-cement lotus in the middle of the pond.
“If you do not allow aquatic plants and animals to grow naturally, they will die and that is why the use against concrete is dangerous for biodiversity,” says land and water management engineer P S Joshi.
There have been previous efforts to revive Kamal Pokhari. In 2017, Nepali Congress MP Gagan Thapa worked with environmentalists to revive the pond and to stop garbage dumping.
But by 2019, Kamal Pokhari had turned into a wasteland, and the KMC announced plans to develop the area into a recreational space with an artificial lotus. The plan has been met with stiff resistance from activists.
“Currently, the swampy soil bed is the lifeline of the pond, it retains water,” says architect and activist, Susan Vaidya. He explains that in situations when a pond is left dry for a long time, it loses its ability to retain water.
Deconstruction reconstruction, Alok Siddhi Tuladhar