Road expansion work obstructed

KATHMANDU, APR 21: Kathmandu Valley Development Authority has informed that Sunakothi-Thecho-Chapagaun road-widening work has been obstructed due to protests from locals and heritage conservationists.

Urban Development Minister Narayan Khadka had directed KVDA to halt the Sunakothi- Chapagaon road expansion work on last week to protect heritage sites and historical houses that are more than 100 years old following pressure from national and international heritage conservationists and local residents.

The authority is now thinking of reconsidering road expansion on the Sunakothi-Thecho-Chapagaun stretch without destroying the cultural and religious sites.

Historical houses that are more than 100 years old had been demarked by the authority in the road expansion plan.

The settlements, structures and buildings reflect the rich culture, life style, religion, customs, arts and archaeology of the Lichhavi and Malla periods.

The chaityas, chivas, water tanks, traditional shelter houses and ground level shrines were in danger of being bulldozed due to the road expansion.

The Bhringara Mahadev temple, Buddha Jana Bihar and Balkumari Temple, which are the major heritage sites and historical wealth of Sunakothi had been threatened with demolition.

According to Ancient Monuments Act 2013, structures that are more than 100 years old cannot be demolished. Narayan Bhandari, District Commissioner Officer, Lalitpur said, “We will try to bypass the current demarcation of structures more than 100 years old while expanding the Sunakothi-Thecho-Chapagaun stretch after holding talks with locals, heritage conservationists and UNESCO.” The road is being expanded to link it to the southern outlet of the Valley.

The authority plans to expand the road to a width of 22 metres with two-metre wide footpaths on either side. “The five-km stretch will have to be expanded to link it to the southern outlet of the Valley. The authority will have to look for an alternative route without touching historic structures,” he said.