The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has kicked-off the reconstruction work at Rani Pokhari in Kathmandu from Saturday.
The KMC had planned to demolish the existing concrete structures in the first phase of reconstruction process from mid-May. And as planned, the concrete wall built around Rani Pokhari is now being demolished.
The move has been initiated days after a group of heritage conservationists presented Deputy Mayor Hari Prabha Khadgi with grass cut from the overgrown bed of the historic pond. It was a novel protest that caught the attention of city officials about the state of Rani Pokhari.
The historic artificial pond – Rani Pokhari aka Nhu Pukhu suffered heavy damage during the earthquake of 2015 and has been waiting for the reconstruction ever since.
Deputy Mayor, Khadgi said she was determined to conserve the heritage sites in Kathmandu. She stated, “I am in favor of restoring Rani Pokhari in its original form. After the heritage conservationists offered me grass as a form of protest this week, I immediately ordered the workers to remove the concrete wall that was built against the norm.”
The reconstruction work on the historic pond was on-hold since December last year. The work was discontinued after the metropolis’ decision to use 10-foot concrete boundary wall on the southern side of Rani Pokhari was immensely criticized by the conservationists and citizens in the valley.
In December last year, Deputy Mayor Khagdi, along with KMC Ward-8 Chairman Bhairam Khadgi had padlocked the Rani Pokhari reconstruction site to stop the construction of the concrete wall around the pond. But the padlock was broken just an hour later by Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya. Although Worldwide Kandel KN KG JV began reconstructing the pond in 2016, it has very little to show for its work. As per the sources, NPR. 25 million has been spent on the project so far. Conservationists have demanded that the authorities should investigate into the project spending, suspecting financial irregularities.
Ganapati Lal Shrestha, a heritage conservationist said, “This is a hard earned money of the people. We demand the KMC to be more accountable. If only the KMC had consulted with the expert, it would not have faced all these criticisms. We hope the city officials have taken a lesson from this event.”
So, now that the reconstruction work at the historic pond has been initiated, we hope to see the beautiful Rani Pokhari with the beauty it carried once.
News Source & Featured Image: Kathmandu Post