Rebuilding works at Rani Pokhari put on holdThe reconstruction works at Rani Pokhari, one of the archaeological sites destroyed by last year’s devastating earthquake, have been halted following public outrage over the use of concrete instead of traditional construction materials.
The reconstruction works at Rani Pokhari, one of the archaeological sites destroyed by last year’s devastating earthquake, have been halted following public outrage over the use of concrete instead of traditional construction materials.
The Department of Archeology (DoA) has written to the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), which is looking over the rebuilding project, to stop the works until further discussions scheduled on Sunday.
“The reconstruction works have been put on hold. We have asked KMC authorities for a meeting on Sunday to discuss the matter,” said Ram Kunwar, spokesperson for the DoA. The decision to halt the reconstruction comes after people from all walks of life, including historians, archeologists, experts, youths and civil society drew the attention of the concerned authorities over the reconstruction works in Rani Pokhari using reinforced cement concrete (RCC) frames in breach of the construction rules under Unesco and heritage sites. An online petition titled ‘Save Nepali Heritage’ has been launched to mount pressure on the concerned authorities to stop rebuilding works using concretes.
The DoA under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation—the authority that approves the building plans and budget estimation for the monuments and historical sites damaged by the earthquake across the country—has expressed serious concerns over the use of the RCC frames during the rebuilding works in Rani Pokhari.
While the DoA maintains that the KMC did not follow the rules as per the building plans approved for the reconstruction, the municipality authority claims that the concrete had already been used in Rani Pokhari before.
“All the monuments and historical sites should be built using the traditional building materials to maintain the original architecture. We had asked KMC to use traditional construction materials like wood, shurki and jhumki while rebuilding,” said Kunwar.
Rani Pokhari is the first major reconstruction project being carried out in the Valley with an intention to revive the 17th century monumental and architectural site from its ruins. Last year’s disaster caused minor to severe damages to over 750 monuments across the country, including all seven World Heritage Sites in the Valley.