By Razen Manandhar
KATHMANDU, April 6:After a long wait, the government has finally decided to hand over the management of the capital’s four prominent landmarks to the Kathmandu Metropolitan City.
The government eventually agreed to hand over Ranipokhari, Ratnapark, City Hall and the Balaju Water Garden to KMC that were previously under the Public Garden and Auditorium Development Committee (PGADC), a semi-government body, Hari Prasad Rimal, spokesman of the Ministry of Local Development, told The Kathmandu Post today.
"But it does not give authority to the KMC to sell the land and it requires the Ministry’s approval for any development programmes like giving in lease or changing the constructions," Rimal said.
Though the Ministry recently finalised its decision to hand over the ‘rights of utilising’ these major attractions of the city, the KMC will formally take over only after a hand over ceremony.
The decision gives KMC the authority to use the places, develop them and manage them in a better way. The responsibility to manage the 120-odd number of staff also falls on the KMC as per the understanding.
Deputy manager of PGADC Sahadev Shrestha said that the earlier attempts to take over the rights of PGADC belongings by mayors Kamal Chitrakar and PL Singh had failed. "For us, it would be of little difference working under the government or the KMC," he said.
But Mayor Keshav Sthapit has taken this decision as the biggest achievement of his four and half years tenure. "We finally got it" Sthapit said, responding to a question on the decision.
"It was the result of my continuous effort of almost five years," he said. Former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala had announced from several platforms to hand them over but that had never materialised, Sthapit added. "It seems the whole country has now become ours."
He also added that the open space in Teenkune is also on the pipeline to come under the KMC’s jurisdiction. This decision to hand over Teenkune to the KMC would come out within a few days time, according to Hari Krishna Bhagat, in-charge of the Division of Road.
KMC is strong enough to manage the places it would acquire, secretary of KMC Surya Silwal said. "KMC is desperately waiting for a letter to immediately start the maintenance works."
"After completing the garden around Ranipokhari, we will start the maintenance of the City Hall," Silwal said, adding, "We will provide the service of International Birendra Convention Hall in reasonable price at the City Hall itself."
[Kathmandu Sunday April 07, 2002 Chaitra 25, 2058. ]