KATHMANDU, June 29: The government has decided to retrofit three of the four blocks of Singha Durbar, the historical building which incorporates traditional arts, architecture and artifacts, and falls within the country's central administrative area in Kathmandu. The government is still undecided about how to preserve the remaining one block.
The Singha Durbar building was damaged by the earthquakes in April and May last year.
Before the natural disaster, the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Defense, the National Planning Commission and other key government agencies were in the same building.
As the earthquakes badly damaged the Rana-era building, the offices were shifted to other buildings inside the Singha Durbar complex.
“We have decided to retrofit three of the four blocks of the building with a view to preserve its historical architecture, but no decision has been taken about what is to be done about the front façade in the western wing of the complex because that portion was badly damaged by the earthquakes,” Shiva Hari Sharma, spokesman of Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) told Republica.
He also said that the assessment report of the historical palace has pointed out the need of its long term preservation. The indecision stems from the confusion about whether to retrofit the section to preserve its originality or rebuild it entirely.
An officer at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) informed that the technical team has already decided to retrofit the other three parts of the building. The authorities have agreed to start the bidding process to select a company to retrofit the complex's east, north and south faces. The officer said the process to select a company to work on the western face will begin in the next 45 days.
The assessment has shown that the western part needs to be demolished and rebuilt, according to an official. “We have already received various concerned offices' approval to retrofit three parts of the Durbar and we are still awaiting the approval from the Department of Archaeology (DoA) over what is to be done with the western portion,” said an official.
Meanwhile, Singha Durbar Secretariat Reconstruction Committee (SDSRC), which is under MoUD, informed that they have not received the permit to implement any task related to renovation form higher offices.
“So far, we haven't got any official decision from the ministry,” Padma Kumar Mainali, member-secretary at the SDSRC, told Republica.
It's been almost 15 months since the country was shaken by devastating earthquakes. The reconstruction works inside the country's administrative zones, along with Singha Durbar, are in limbo.
Last year, Rs 5 billion had been allocated for reconstruction of all government buildings. According to the government, at least 2,688 government buildings were fully damaged while other 3,779 government houses were partially damaged in the earthquakes.