Nuwakot: Nuwakot Heritage Settlement Committee has started preparing a master plan to preserve the identity of heritage settlements near Nuwakot Durbar.
According to representatives of the committee, locals will have to reconstruct their houses with traditional designs, and the rebuilt houses should bear cultural, religious, historical and archaeological significance. Pushkar Sharma Rimal, chairman of Nuwakot Heritage Settlement Committee, said that the committee will provide galvanized zinc sheets that resemble tiles worth Rs 15,000 to each household.
As per the guidelines of the committee, Bidur Municipal Office has directed locals to maintain historical aspects while constructing houses near the Durbar.
The master plan includes 428 households out of which 390 are listed in the housing reconstruction aid list. However, more than 115 quake-affected houses were rebuilt in the municipality before the master plan was drawn. “It’s been four years since the earthquake and we had to start rebuilding our houses. The municipal office did not provide us with proper guidelines to reconstruct houses, so we went ahead and built our houses the way we wanted to,” said Meena Shrestha, a resident of Bidur Municipality Ward No. 2.
Meanwhile, the municipality has decided to pull down houses that have been built without adhering to the master plan design code.
“The municipal office will demolish the houses that were constructed against the set standard,” said Sanju Pandit, mayor of the municipality. This has put locals like Shrestha in a dilemma. “I took loans to rebuild my house after the earthquake. I can’t afford to have it demolished.”
Aware of the locals’ predicament, Pandit said that those who have already rebuilt their houses must redo the facade of their houses in a traditional way as dictated in the master plan.
“If they do not fix the front section of their house, then we will have to demolish the entire structure,” said Pandit. “The municipal office will also help impoverished families redo the facade of their houses.
According to Pandit, his office will provide Rs 40,000 to each household to preserve the traditional house style.
“We have also been providing 50 percent discount to locals who adhere to the design code while passing the house designs, ” said Pandit.
Sushil Gyawali, the chief executive officer of the National Reconstruction Authority, said the authority supports the committee’s move to preserve traditional house designs in Bidur Municipality, and that this move will help put the Nuwakot Durbar area in the World Heritage Site list.
“Turning the municipality into a heritage settlement is a positive move. The locals should also actively participate in this and adhere to the master plan design,” said Gyawali.
In February, the reconstruction authority allocated Rs 2 million to six settlements, including Nuwakot Durbar area, to prepare a master plan for the heritage settlement. It had also provided Rs 50 million to each settlement for infrastructure construction.
Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, former minister for Foreign Affairs and also a Nuwakot local, has suggested authorities to include Gorakhnath temple, Dupcheshwor, Kabilash, Bhairumkot and Bhutayha areas in the master plan.
By Krishna Thapa in The Kathmandu Post - September 4 2019