High-rise buildings in Kathmandu: A security threat to government and VVIPs

Gajendra Basnet

August 4, 2019

Reading Time: 4 minutes

High-rise buildings in Kathmandu: A security threat to government and VVIPs
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KATHMANDU: What is security? When do you feel you are secured? Does self-confidence or assurance remit security? Does one feel secured if surrounded by police or confined in the wall? Is security is ensured by the physicality of arrangement or abstractness of emotions or both?

These questions are not easy to ponder over. A decade long Maoist insurgency and scores of other civil and political movements have never allowed Nepalese citizens to feel secure about their own life, property, and future.

The state of dissatisfaction among common Nepalese people is still seen all around the country including the capital city Kathmandu. It seems the whole country is living under constant fear of insecurity. The Singha Durbar is the seat of the federal government in charge of providing security to all the Nepalese citizens as well as foreigners living within the geographical boundary of Nepal.

One can ask a question: If Singha Durbar itself is feeling insecure then how will it save the life and property of both nationals and foreigners living in Nepal? The head offices of the Government of Nepal located in Singha Durbar is full of insecurity nowadays because of the sky-rise buildings standing right in front. In fact, there is an untamed competition to construct sky-rise buildings in all the cities of Nepal.

Kathmandu is taking the lead and many numbers of high-rise buildings are visible all across and many others are under construction. There is no urban planning with regard to where to make such kinds of high-rise buildings in which part of the city. There are building rules devised and regulated by Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) and concerned local municipality which are violated with the power of money and power.

Land mafias, powerful contractors and property dealers act in tandem to influence the politicians and administrators in their favor and make the latter just helpless spectators.

The Ministry of Home Affairs responsible for the management of internal security and all other important government departments and agencies under the PMO (Prime Minister Office) and Federal Government are stationed in Singha Durbar, the main administrative center of Nepal.

The newly constructed building just by the side of Singha Durbar has emerged as a cause of concern for all those who mind the physical security of Prime Minister, Home Minister, top secretaries, and highly placed bureaucrats.

Every passing day, the sky-rise building in the vicinity of the Singha Durbar is adding extra inklings of snooping, targeting locations from distant laser cameras and even employing other means to keep a tab on the movement of politicians, contractors, power-brokers and other high profile bureaucrats.

However, the government seems to have turned blind eyes to such kind of security threats and remain a mute spectator, as if rendered helpless, to allow the construction of such sky-rise buildings in the sensitive places like this or in other such sensitive places across the country in different provinces.

For example, Army Headquarters (Jangi Adda), Nepal Police Headquarters (Naxal), Armed Police Force Head-Office (Halchok) and many others are either already surrounded or being surrounded by high-rise buildings. Even the Rastrapati Bhawan (Shital Niwas) is in the process of being enclosed by the sky-risers (and high-risers).

Just think, a person sleeping or sitting on a high-rise building can easily keep a tab on a secret meeting of ministers or a close look at all the activities of Singha Durbar. Some criminal gangs can even launch an attack on the government establishment from these buildings.

Ram Krishna Subedi, Chief of the security and coordination of Home Ministry accepts the danger involved due to the presence of such high-rise buildings in close proximity of government establishment located in Singha Durbar.

“MoHA is well aware of this fact and a letter of inquiry and for seeking all the details has been sent to concerned Chief District Officer (CDO),” says Subedi adding further, “We are waiting for a reply from the CDO after which we shall take appropriate action in this regard.”

Just like Singha Durbar, the Office of the President is also facing similar threats to its security. Green House hall (Social Welfare Council building) recently converted into office of the Vice-President is also facing the security threat due to trade building by its side.

Besides, there is one more sky-rise building currently under construction will directly see through every activity happening inside the office of Vice-President. This building is a security threat to the office of the Vice-President of Nepal.

At present, even the building which houses the House of Representatives where all the top leaders, Speaker, and other MPs (Member of Parliament) come together for a meeting and important legislative work, is completely enclosed by high-rise multi-story buildings used for residential, trade and commercial purposes.

Police spokesman DIG Bishwaraj Pokharel says that tall buildings constructed in and around residences of VVIPs such as top leaders and high officials from army, police and civil administration involve a lot of risk and threat to their personal security of life.

If any criminal group motivated by ill-intention uses those high-rise buildings to target VVIP of Nepal, then havoc will be created in the entire country, cautions Pokharel with a note of advice: “If we think that only common Nepalese people live in such buildings, it is our mistake as we prove to be na├»ve in the matter of security challenges of the country.”

Hemant Malla, former DIG of Nepal Police, too, agrees with the remarks of DIG Pokharel. He considers high-rise building near to Singh Durbar a real threat to the functioning of the Government of Nepal as such buildings can be used for physical attack any time.

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