Kathmandu Metropolitan City to celebrate its 25th anniversary with fanfare over two daysConservationists and heritage activists say celebrations don’t matter until public aspirations are met.
Kathmandu Metropolitan City has announced it will be celebrating its 25th anniversary on December 14 and 15, but heritage activists and conservationists are not exactly enthused with the declaration.
Addressing a board meeting on Friday, held at the City’s office in JDA complex, Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya had said that the celebrations will be grand and more inclusive.
“But the elected representatives have done nothing to address the concern of the locals,” said Ganapati Lal Shrestha, a heritage conservationist, indicating that there’s nothing much to celebrate. Shrestha was also one of the initiators of the public-led “Occupy Tundikhel” drive, a three-month-long public campaign to reclaim the once open space from encroachers. The public drive reached its fifth week this Saturday.
“Every citizen living in the city should feel an ownership towards the event, but we have been raising our voices for so long and we have not heard from the Mayor yet,” said Shrestha. “The authorities had a great opportunity to rebuild this historic city after the 2015 earthquakes, but they did nothing in preserving our centuries-old heritage and culture, and celebrating this lack of achievement over two days does not make sense.”
According to Nuchhe Kaji Maharjan, coordinator of the City’s celebrations, the two-day event will be held in Lagan Tole, Naradevi, Tengal, Tahiti and Basantapur area with various cultural programmes, dances, art and photo exhibitions; while the official inaugural programme will be held at the Basantapur Durbar Square.
“We want the involvement of each and every citizen of the city in this celebration,” said Hari Prabha Khadgi, deputy mayor of the city.
Addressing concerns of locals and heritage activists regarding ‘Occupy Tundikhel’, Khadgi noted that the city is soon going to address the issue of open space. “We are in the process of emptying the Khulla Manch and the southern part of Tundikhel. I have already inspected the area with conservationists,” said Khadgi.
The City office will be felicitating 63 guthis from the Jyapu community, 65 guthis from the Khadgi community and 23 groups of gunla baja players (a traditional Newari instrument). The City will also be felicitating two Kumaris (living goddesses) and different dancing troupes that are involved in different jatras.
Additionally, the City will honour Prem Lal Singh, popularly known as PL Singh, a former mayor of the city, who had announced the upgradation of the Kathmandu Municipality into a metropolitan city on December 15, 1995.