Contractor misses deadline of Gorkha Durbar reconstruction for the second timeThe local residents put the blame for the delay on the contractor company and the Department of Archeology.
The final deadline for the completion of Gorkha Durbar’s reconstruction work was mid-December 2020. This was the extended deadline assigned to the project after it failed to meet the previous deadline set in mid-June 2020.
The reconstruction work on the Durbar was initiated on December 17, 2017, more than two years after the historically important palace of the Shah kings was badly damaged by the 2015 earthquake. The total cost of the reconstruction project is Rs 43.7 million.
An abode of kings from Ram Shah to Prithvi Narayan Shah, the palace was a witness to the unification of the present day Nepal. The palace today stands in ruins due to the negligence of the authorities, say local residents of the area.
“The reconstruction work has been going on since December 17, 2017. We don’t know when the palace will be fully reconstructed,” said Milan Rana, a local resident of Gorkha Municipality Ward No. 6. “There are no technicians on site and only a few workers are available. It looks like the reconstruction of the palace will never be complete.”
The local residents put the blame for the delay on the contractor company and the Department of Archeology.
The reconstruction work was initiated by the Pachali Siwa JV Construction on December 17, 2017. As per the contract, the construction company should complete the reconstruction work by mid-December 2019. The deadline was then extended by six months and then further until mid-December 2020.
Hari Bhusal, chief at the Gorkha Durbar Herchaha Adda, the government office that oversees the maintenance of the historic palace, said, “Only up to 65 percent of the reconstruction work has been completed so far. If they continue the work without further delays, the entire reconstruction project will be completed within three months.”
“The Department of Archeology should give the contractor company a deadline and take action against the contractor in case of delays,” said Bhusal.
There were other temples in the area that were partially or completely damaged during the 2015 earthquakes but their reconstruction has been put on hold until the work on Gorkha Durbar is complete.
“We will not be able to initiate reconstruction works on other temples without completing the work on the palace,” said Bhusal.
Shambhu Aryal, a priest of the Gorkha Kalika Temple, said, “Kalika temple was also damaged in the quake. But the reconstruction of this temple has been affected due to delays in the reconstruction of the palace.”
There are other temples and ancient heritage sites like Gorkha Kalika, Rangamahal and Sital Pati, among others, on the palace premises that sustained damages in the 2015 earthquakes but they have seen little to no restoration or reconstruction efforts.
Sharmila Yogi, a local resident of Gorkha Municipality, says the number of pilgrims to Gorkha has also dwindled due to the delay in the palace’s reconstruction work.
“Almost all shops catering to pilgrims and tourists have been closed now,” she said.
Meanwhile, Aksar Ali Miya, a technician of Pachali Siwa JV Construction, said, “We are working with an aim to complete the reconstruction work of the palace by mid-April. We have six workers working regularly at the construction site at present.”