Sunday, September 10, 2000

Business complex to be erected in Sundhara

By Razen Manandhar

KATHMANDU, Sept 9 - Employees Provident Fund Office (EPFO) and Ward No 22 of Kathmandu Metropolitan City have recently reached a verbal understanding to provide Rs 1.6 million to a renovation committee to start building business complex just behind the capital's famous Sundhara spout.

The construction works had been stalled for 14 years following a squabble with the locals who blamed that drying of the spout was due to the construction works. The amount to be received from EPFO will be used in renovation of the stone spout, according to Ward chairman Hari Krishna Dangol.

Dangol said Friday that he would help EPFO to have the house map approved to build its complex today after the latter had agreed to pay the sum they needed to renovate the spout that has been lying useless for over a decade. "EPFO will start building its complex there very soon," he said. A renovation committee has already been formed, of which, Ward Chairman Dangol is the coordinator.

The locals stopped EPFO's building project in 1986 as the water spout started drying as soon as the digging began behind the spout. They claimed that the digging tampered the water source for the over 150 years old spout.

Engineer Saroj Basnet of WeLink Consultants said that it would start the renovation works either by finding out its real source, or by constructing wells in nearby Tebahal area or by deep-boring for the ground water. "We have produced the preliminary report. However, If we have to go for deep boring, the amount would be insufficient," he said.

The search for the water source is to start after six weeks, when EPFO will complete demolishing the existing building there.

Whereas, the locals are not happy with the proposed scheme. Srikrishna Darshandhari, a local, said Ward Office should help EPFO to have the map approved only after the problem of Sundhara is totally solved. He asked, "Who will take the responsibility if EPFO constructed the building but Sundhara remained dry?"

He said that such serious steps should have been taken only after a thorough discussion with the locals.

He also opposed pumping out underground water, saying it would destroy the historic value of Sundhara and also waste the ground water too. "Deep boring will damage the valley's geological feature and the volume of water from deep-boring will create a problem for its outlet," he said.

On the other hand, EPFO officials maintained that the drying of the spout had no relation with the building of the complex. "Still, we agreed to grant Rs 1.6 million as per the demand of the Ward Office and we also wanted to help restore the national monument," said Shashi Bikram Rana, the Department Chief of EPFO.

However, officials at the Department of Archaeology-- which takes care of the all the historic monuments of the country-- said that they had no information about the Ward Office's steps.
[Kathmandu Sunday September 10, 2000 Bhadra 25, 2057.]