KATHMANDU, Aug 3: The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Yogesh Bhattarai has formed a three-member task force to study the proposed master plan of the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) in detail and prepare a final report based on the opinions and suggestions of the local stakeholders.
The task force consists of Pradip Koirala, joint secretary at the ministry and chief of the Culture Division, Kamal Bhattarai, joint secretary and chief of the Planning Division and Damodar Gautam, director general of the Department of Archeology.
The discussion was organized with the local people's representatives, representatives of political parties and other stakeholders today after various comments were made public about the proposed master plan of the fund.
Minister Bhattarai, after hearing the views of the participants of the discussion, announced the formation of the three-member task force with a deadline of one month to submit a report prepared after consulting with all parties regarding the master plan. "The local stakeholders need to be listened to, so we can stop where we are now, but we can't always stay still because we need to move forward,” he said.
Stating that the PADT has been carrying out its activities within the mandate set by the government, Minister Bhattarai said no work would be done to obscure the historical, archeological and cultural significance of Pashupatinath. He said, "There are some 'core' areas within the four forts. Those areas must be made uninhabited."
He urged all parties to work together to safeguard Pashupatinath's importance. He also clarified that there was no attempt to destroy yesterday's processions and festivals as rumored in the name of the master plan.
He said, “It is the common duty of all of us to preserve the historical, archeological and cultural significance of Pashupatinath. Jatras (processions) and festivals should continue as they did in the past.”
Expressing commitment to post the proposed master plan on the ministry's website as well as review the current master plan, he urged the locals to join the campaign to make the Pashupati area prosperous by stopping the protest programs.
A committee demanding an immediate halt to the master plan handed over a memorandum to the minister on Sunday.