KATHMANDU, Dec 28: Prime Minister KP Oli on Thursday laid the foundation stone for Dharahara, the iconic tower in Kathmandu that was destroyed in the devastating earthquake of 2015.
With this, the reconstruction of the landmark tower has finally begun. The government has awarded the construction project to the GIETC- RAMAN joint-venture outfit. If everything goes as planned the monument will be completed within two years. As per the construction design, the new Dharahara complex will comprise a mini theater hall, a museum, a musical fountain, a food court, stone water spouts, souvenir shops and parking. The remains of the previous Dharahara will be preserved. The government has allocated Rs 3.45 billion for the Dharahara project. Nepal Communist Party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ishwar Pokhrel, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari, and National Reconstruction Authority Chief Executive Officer Sushil Gyewali were among those were present at the function.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Oli said the new Dharahara will reflect the original tower but the construction will be modern. The prime minister asked the construction company to leave no room for complaint in its work.
“Once the Dharahara is built both children and the elderly will be able to use a lift,” said the prime minister adding, “After two years we will be able to see a green and beautiful Valley from atop the new Dharahara”.
NRA CEO Gyewali claimed that the new Dharahara will look like the old one. The tower construction covers an area of 21,267 square meters and the tower itself will be 75 meters high. It will have 22 stories although it will look like 11 stories from outside.
According to reconstruction officials, what is left of the quake-damaged original Dharahara will be preserved under a glass covering. The new Dharahara will be located right next to it.
The nine-story 62-meter white tower built by Nepal’s first prime minister Bhemsen Thapa in 1825, has collapsed twice during earthquakes, in 1934 and 2015.