Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Nepal Telecom withdraws from Dharahara reconstruction

Nepal Telecom will not reconstruct the historic Dharahara tower – one of Kathmandu’s iconic landmarks – that was collapsed in the devastating earthquake two years ago.
Citing the government's failure in assuring security to its investment, the telecom service provider said that it will, however, donate Rs 1 billion to the government for the project as it had committed earlier.
The Nepal Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has already been informed about the NT's decision, according to the telecommunication service provider.
Earlier, the government had designed the model for Dharahara with an estimated cost of Rs 4 billion. But, the government plan has been pushed into limbo after the NT pulled out of the project.
The telecom service provider decided not to take the responsibility as the government did not agree on its proposal to construct a commercial shopping complete on the premises, apart from opposition from the local cultural communities that has been asking to rebuild Dharahara according to the design proposed by Department of Archaeology. NT had proposed to add more features in the vicinity of Dharahara, such as a fountain, space for cultural music and a modern garden, which NT believed was required to ensure sustainability of Dharahara.
However, the government insisted that the premises should be left open.
The government’s design of Dharahara also stated that 70 per cent of the total area used for Dharahara reconstruction had to be left vacant. However, this is not possible as a portion of the land meant for rebuilding Dharahara is a holy site where different communities perform various rituals.
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) accepted that it has received a letter from NT yesterday stating the company’s unwillingness to rebuild the monument in the heart of the city. "The NT has informed us that it is unable to rebuild Dharahara according to design of the government,” informed NRA spokesperson Yam Lal Bhoosal. "
The NRA will take up the issue in the Cabinet soon, as the council of ministers had authorised NT to rebuild Dharahara
The historical monument was to spread over only four ropanis of land but according to the Department of Archaeology proposed design is spread over 30 ropanis of land.
The Department of Archaeology had earlier come up with a design to preserve the ravaged structure of Dharahara at the same location as a memorial to those, who were killed in the earthquake and a new 245-feet, 11-storeyed Dharahara would be built at the site where the General Post Office is located.
Meanwhile, Bhoosal said the authority was likely to take it upon itself to initiate the Dharahara reconstruction process.

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