Kalopul bridge demolition plan irks localsThe High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of the Bagmati Civilisation’s (HPCIDBC) decision to remove the more than 100 years old Kalopul Bridge has annoyed some residents in Kathmandu.
The High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of the Bagmati Civilisation’s (HPCIDBC) decision to remove the more than 100 years old Kalopul Bridge has annoyed some residents in Kathmandu.
The bridge was constructed during Rana Prime Minister Chandra Shumsher’s tenure to ease vehicular and public movement.
Speaking to the Post on Sunday Pashupati Bhandareshwor Dharmik Sewa Samiti Chairman Ramesh Maharjan said, “This is an attack on a heritage site of historical value. Such a monument should be preserved and kept safe, instead the authority plans to demolish it.”
The committee wants to remove Kalopul Bridge since it obstructs the path of a new sewage system it plans to install along the Dhobikhola corridor.
The committee wrote an official letter to the Department of Road to remove the bridge.
“We had asked the road authority to take down the bridge because our work to install sewage system was affected due to the bridge. Although we are aware of the historical importance of this bridge, we had to do this as there was no other option left,” committee’s Deputy Project Manager Yogendra Chitrakar said.
Vendors who do their business over the bridge protest this decision, he added.
Maharjan and other citizens met with committee officials and urged them not to dismantle the bridge constructed 111 years ago.
Over the years, the bridge has served citizens and visitors to travel from Kathmandu to Pashupatinath Temple via Sifal. “The authorities dispatched an excavator to bring down the bridge when the city was in election mode recently. This move was surprising because we were in talks with the authorities to reconsider their decision of dismantling the bridge,” said Maharjan.
The eastern side of the bridge is now damaged. The excavator created a huge trough when it went over the bridge. Locals placed planks over the caved part to cross the bridge, he said. Another resident from the area Sijan Bhandari wants the bridge to stay. “The bridge is associated with the identity of the area. If the authorities bring down this bridge then Kalopul would lose its heritage identity,” he said.
Chitrakar says the bridge is in a bad condition and could collapse any time and cause havoc in the locality.
However, locals say the sewage work could have been done manually instead of using excavator if the authority had intentions of saving the bridge.
“We will not let anyone demolish the bridge at any cost. If it was old and public was at the danger walking over it, then it should have been renovated and preserved. Likewise, the sewage installation could be done without damaging the bridge. It could serve as footpath without any problem for years to come,” said Maharjan.