NA building at Tundikhel attracts public criticismThe ongoing construction of a new building by the Nepal Army has attracted a widespread criticism for breaching the open space of the historic ‘small Tundikhel’ that lies south of Shahid Gate.
The ongoing construction of a new building by the Nepal Army has attracted a widespread criticism for breaching the open space of the historic ‘small Tundikhel’ that lies south of Shahid Gate.
The three and a half storey structure being built on the opposite side of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) in Sundhara will be used for a public library, according to the Army.
Tundikhel is one of the largest and most important among 83 open spaces in three districts in the Valley.
“We value the contribution made by Nepal Army during difficult times,” says Bhusan Tuladhar, an environmental engineer. “But the act of enchroaching the open space and building a concrete structure is a great cause for concern.”
Talking to the Post, NA Spokesperson Brig Gen Tara Bahadur Karki said the Army has just used a small space for public welfare. “It’s going to be a public library, and the space is negligible,” said Karki. However, he didn’t reveal the area of occupied land by the building.
Meanwhile, the social activists who have been working for the preservation of heritage and cultural sites, say occupying public space is not logical by such a reputed institution.
A group that is active on Facebook for the conservation of heritage sites, ‘Save Heritage’, had submitted a petition to Minister for Defence Bal Krishan Khand three months ago, to stop the construction works by the Army.
“They have already erected a concrete building,” said Shailesh Shakya, one of the campaigners who submitted the petition. He said the Defence Minister had turned a deaf ear to their repeated pleas to stop the encroachment of the public space. “This is a place where we used to play football in our childhood. Later, the Army occupied it and slowly building permanent structures. The public will have no place to go if another major earthquake hits the Capital,” said Shakya, a permanent resident of Lagan, sharing concerns of hundreds of the Valley’s denizens who took refuge at the open spaces of Tundikhel for months following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25, 2015. More than 8,000 people were killed across the country in the disaster.
Meanwhile, the KMC has also raised concern over the NA’s act of erecting a structure without obtaining a building permit from the metropolis. “This is an unlawful act, the Nepal Army has not taken permission from us,” said an officer at the KMC’s Building Permit Division.
Coming down heavily on the Army’s act of occupying the public open space, social activist Kanak Mani Dixit has tweeted: “Whoever the land belongs to, this is a public property, and the army should be able to show land ownership document. Constructing a building without taking permission from KMC is unlawful.”