Mayor, Deputy-mayor at odds as Rani Pokhari reconstruction comes under fire

Rani Pokhari

KATHMANDU, Dec 26: Deputy Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City Hariprabha Khadki on Tuesday said that the reconstruction of ancient heritage site is being carried out disregarding the norms set by the departments of archaeology in conservation of ancient monuments.

Deputy Mayor Khadgi had reached the Rani Pokhari reconstruction site to study the damaged monument on Tuesday.  The locals and heritage conservationists protesting the metropolis’ decision to use concrete to build walls around it had padlocked the reconstruction site in Khadgi’s presence.

“The reconstruction works are being carried out without obtaining necessary permits. The department is yet to approve the permit,” said Khadgi after visiting the reconstruction site.

But, Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya has claimed that the reconstruction works has been forwarded as per the design approved by the Department of Archaeology.

The campaigners also restricted the metropolis’ employees, who were carrying out the construction work, from entering the heritage site after they were found using concrete to build wall on the southern side of the pond.

Ancient Monument Preservation Act states that any historic buildings and heritage sites that are over a hundred years old have to be preserved in their original form.

Khagdi accused mayor Shakya of not consulting with her about the reconstruction of the site and added that she would step forward to return the originality and beauty of Rani Pokhari.

The government had ordered the Kathmandu Metropolitan City to handover the reconstruction of the historic pond to Department of Archaeology after it drew widespread criticism from conservation experts and UNESCO for using concrete pillars in the construction of the temple.