Dharahara inaugurated way early, only 60 percent of the work completed so far
May 2, 2021 02:21 PM NPT
KATHMANDU, May 2: Looking at the exterior of the Dharahara, it seems as if the construction of the tower has been completed. With golden beads decorated at the top, a balcony that overlooks the valley on the 20th floor, a fresh coat of white paint, and colorful lights all over the tower, the Dharahara seems to be complete. However, the tower is far from completion. Prime Minister KP Sharma inaugurated the tower on April 25 but only 60 percent of the construction was complete. At the moment it looks like it will take another year before the Dharahara will be fully constructed but it may take longer if work restrictions are put in place due to COVID-19.
The construction company under the contract had only completed the exterior work after PM Oli hurried to inaugurate the tower. The inauguration took place after only the two elevators and the exterior of the tower had been completed. Even the stairs to walk the tower have not been done yet as they are just being constructed at the moment.
After the PM’s hurried decision to inaugurate the tower, the company had connected the elevators, as the construction of the stairs would take longer to complete. But the elevator has been disconnected and is being refitted again as they were not connected properly in the first place. Also, the laborers working for the construction of the project say that it has been difficult to work on other projects after the exteriors and the upper floors of the tower were completed in a hurry. They also stated that the inauguration took place even when most of the work on the upper floors was yet to be done.
According to one of the workers, “There is still a lot of work left to be done on the tower. It was inaugurated despite the rough work. Work can go wrong when done in a hurried manner. The lift had to be reopened and connected again after it wasn’t connected properly earlier. We couldn’t work at our own pace which led to the construction of the Dharahara in a chaotic state.”
According to the project manager of the construction company, Shyam Chandra Shrestha, despite the ongoing work, the completion of the project could take longer than the estimated time. He also stated that even if they were to accelerate the construction project, the COVID-19 pandemic will slow down the process.
“Most people think that the tower is complete after the inauguration but more difficult and time-consuming works are yet to be done. That is why it will take at least a year to complete the project,” he added. Also, the workers returning to their homes due to COVID-19 could be a factor in slowing down the construction, he said.
But the construction company plans to complete the construction as soon as possible by keeping the workers in a different place. According to Shrestha, most of the interior parts of the Dharahara are yet to be completed, stairs need to be placed on 20 floors of the tower, and an observation room is yet to be constructed on the 18th floor where special heritage and cultures of the valley will be displayed. As stated by the construction company, the view of the valley can be observed from the 20th, 21st, and 22nd floors of the tower. The interiors of these floors are yet to be completed along with the placement of tiles on the floors.
“There are still a lot of finishing works left on the ground floors of the tower that need to be completed as well,” Project Manager Shrestha said. “Good things take a longer time to complete,” he added. Similarly, the parking lots on the ground are yet to start along with the construction of a musical fountain. A museum will be constructed on the north and south side of the tower where old coins issued by the Nepal Rastra Bank will be shown on a digital display. A canteen will be built on the same floor which is being constructed at the moment.
Project Manager Shrestha said that the decoration work on the tower is important to keep it intact.
“We will be extending the deadline given by the reconstruction authority as there is still a lot of work left. We had 300 workers before the inauguration, now we have only 100,” Shrestha added. The total cost of the reconstruction of Dharahara is estimated to reach Rs 3.48 billion by the time the tower is complete. So far, Rs 1.68 billion has been spent on the reconstruction of the tower which was leveled by the 2015 earthquake.