JANAKPUR, April 29: Janakpur, which is a popular destination for pilgrims, has recently earned the recognition of the capital of Province 2. There is a large number of religious and historical sites in the district, which are in dire need of repair and maintenance. If these structures are not preserved and protected, Janakpur is likely to lose its charm.
Despite being aware about the condition of the historic pilgrimage sites, the authorities concerned have turned a blind eye to the problems. During their speeches, leaders and government officials assure to curb illegal encroachment of public land. However, in reality, neither the leaders nor the Guthi Sansthan or Greater Janakpur Area Development Council has paid any heed for the conservation and protection of temples.
Birakh Katti temple, which lies opposite to Janakpur Eye Hospital in Janapurdham-8, Ramananda chowk, has been neglected since decades. The temple which has been built in around 1 kattha land is in a dilapidated state. There are no statues inside the temple or priests to look after it.
On the temple premises, a shed for a pair of horses has been made using bamboos and tents. These horses are used during weddings for pulling a cart. The owner of the horses says he is just using the vacant place but has no idea regarding the ownership of the land. He also claimed that the National Electricity Authority (NEA) has been providing free electricity for the temple.
There is a dense settlement around the temple. Most of the houses are concrete and at least two-storey tall. A concrete house has been built on the side of the temple. The owner of the horses informed Republica that the house belongs to a local police officer. However, he refused to reveal the name of the police officer.
It is evident that locals have illegally occupied the land belonging to the temple. As per the locals, ward secretaries and officials of various government authorities have encroached upon and occupied the land belonging to the temple.
A high-level working committee formed under the coordination of Bhojraj Ghimire, the then chief of the GJADC, had submitted a report in 2005 after a field study of the temples. As mentioned in the report, Birakh Katti temple has six-bigha land. Further details show that two katthas of land was offered on lease to the eye hospital while 17 katthas of land was offered to Blind and Disabled Association for 1 mana rice per year.
Now, the temple itself is in a sorry state and no responsible authority has the details of collected rice or the status of the remaining land of the temple.