Reconstruction And Heritage Originality
The Department of Archaeology has ordered a halt to the reconstruction of the historical Ranipokhari heritage located at the heart of the capital because the contractor was rebuilding the temple of Balgopaleswar without maintaining its original structure. The department had handed over the responsibility of this reconstruction work to the Kathmandu Metropolitan Office. Rebuilding heritage sites is not an easy task because it is important to keep the original shape intact. If such works are entrusted to inefficient and insensitive contractors, they will be rebuilding concrete structures at their whim by eliminating the originality.
According to a news report, the Department of Archaeology and the concerned contractor were locked in an argument regarding the unaltered identity of the white temple located at the centre of the historical pond, which opens only once every year. The department complained that the builders had been using materials other than the ones specified in the construction contract paper. On the other hand, the contractor insisted that he was abiding by the stated standard. Due to the argument, the construction work has been halted. This indicates that the work will not be proceeding smoothly.
It is a well known fact that today’s upstart contractors see construction work at its face value. Most of them are not sensitive enough to feel the minute subtleties and complexities of construction works. When things are imposed through whims in order to veil the inefficiency, they will end up building structures that are faulty and vulnerable. Contractors have their own association and they tend to impose their own rules to their customers. It is high time the government administration also bust the unholy nexus between the contractors, engineers and manufacturers of construction materials. Every sector must be brought under a strict legal framework.
Contractors stick to their illogical and unreasonable insistence through the back force of their association. When they face the ultimate rejection of their customers, they shamelessly resort to unbecoming measures like strikes and protests. What will be the quality of construction that is imposed through ogranised protests? It is amidst this scenario that the nation is going ahead with the massive reconstruction works in the aftermath of last year’s earthquake. Until the unreasonable hegemony of the builders is put to an end, we will not be able to build strong and reliable infrastructure and homes. If the contractors take the building code into their hands, the resultant anarchy will cost the nation big.
In violation of the construction specifications, the contractor of Ranipokhari reconstruction was using cement, iron rods and gravel to build the Balgopaleswar Temple. This not only deviates from the use of original materials but also adds unnecessary loads to the structure. This is where the complaint of the archaeology department lies. As the contractor insisted that he was doing the right thing, which he was not, the department instructed the Kathmandu metropolis to halt the construction works. Public hearings may be held, courts may be moved and trade unions may try to exert undue influence, which will only delay the reconstruction. But it would be in the interest of archaeological experts, engineers and builders to come to a solution and resume the halted works.