Reconstruction of Dharahara (L) and Ranipokhari is going on. (Photo: Khabarhub)
KATHMANDU: The reconstruction and renovation of the historical, cultural and religious heritages damaged by the devastating 2015 earthquake are being carried out abiding by the precautionary safety standards against the coronavirus pandemic.
Although most of the construction activities have come to a standstill after the enforcement of the lockdown in March, the construction works related to these monuments have continued though slow-paced than before.
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) says the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the reconstruction calendar adversely as it has slackened the pace of work.
“Although the reconstruction works and preparation of DPR are going simultaneously in different places, the pace of work has been adversely affected the reconstruction and renovation schedule,” Gopal Prasad Aryal, the spokesperson at NRA told Khabarhub.
He added that the reconstruction works in Kathmandu are satisfactory.
Dharahara to be completed within the stipulated timeframe
The NRA had, during the inauguration from Prime Minister KP Oli, announced that the reconstruction of Dharahara or Bhimsen Monument would be completed by the last week of 2020.
Despite the energy and zeal, the NRA showed in the reconstruction, COVID-19 affected the construction schedule.
“The first 10 days after the enforcement of lockdown affected the scheduled reconstruction,” Raju Man Maharjan, an archeologist at NRA said.
He added that the workers dispersed to different places, yet they came back in 22-25 days making the continuation of the reconstruction work possible despite the lockdown followed by recent prohibitory orders.
Maharjan claims all workers are committed to meet the deadline.
“After a few days of disruption posed by the pandemic, we brought extra workforce from districts like Bardiya, Saptari and Udayapur,” he said, adding, “Currently, more than 300 workers are at work daily.”
Sushil Gyawali, the Chief Executive Officer of NRA had earlier stated that owing to the disturbance caused by the pandemic, the reconstruction deadline of Dharahara might be affected.
Will the reconstruction of Dharahara be accomplished in the next 5 months? NRA’s heritage expert Maharjan is optimistic about the completion of the project.
“We are trying our best,” he told Khabarhub. “We are working on the 13th floor,” he added.
The NRA had set the last week of December as the deadline for the completion of Dharahara reconstruction. The destructive earthquake of 2015 had left only the stump of the Bhimsen Monument.
He informed that the Dharahara reconstruction which started in November 2019 with an estimated budget of Rs 3.08 billion and to accomplish it by the end of 2020 is 50% complete.
Ranipokhari getting a new life
Meanwhile, the Ranipokhari reconstruction has also reached the final phase.
NRA sources claim that the reconstruction and renovation work has reached the water collection phase now. The water is being collected in the historical pond now.
The reconstruction of Ranipokhari had come to standstill due to the lockdown enforced to curb the wide-spreading COVID-19 pandemic. However, the NRA arranged to let the work go on at Ranipokhari.
“We ensured that the reconstruction would continue abiding by the health safety measures set by the government,” heritage expert Maharjan informed Khabarhub.
According to Maharjan, NRA plans to adopt 5 measures to fill water in the 5 feet 2-inch deep Ranipokhari.
He said that 2 boring each 260 meters deep are already dug for Ranipokhari. NRA plans to pipe water to Ranipokhari from the wells in Tundikhel.
In addition to it, there will be a dedicated line of Melamchi Drinking Water Project as well. As the next water supply, the pond will receive two water lines from Durbar High School, lying opposite to the historical pond.
Maharjan added that the beautification of the historical pond Ranipokhari is going on these days.
“The first phase of construction is already over,” he said, “Nearly 25% of the stone paving is left, but it will be completed in a week.”
After the stone paving, NRA will start refilling water in the pond making it alive again.