Day 100: A Status Check
Today is Day 100 since the initial Nepal earthquake of 2015. We have biked in rallies and run in marathons commemorating Kasthamandap. We have lighted candles. We have written heartfelt articles and memoirs (including by yours truly). We have argued for the importance of Kasthamandap over Dharahara. We have painted murals for it and even created a miniature Kasthamandap Model that is astoundingly life-like. We have connected on social media and in the real world with others who share a passion for Kasthamandap and who appreciate its central and monumental significance in Kathmandu culture. We have organized one-day and two-day conferences on how, when and why to rebuild Kasthamandap.
But a hundred days on, Kasthamandap is still a gaping wound at the heart of Kathmandu. Let us come together to start the rebuilding process. In the current issue (June, 2015) of ECS Nepal, this writer has tried to pave a path forward. Please provide feedback, suggest alternatives, or voice your support by leaving a comment below.
Private groups are trying to collect funds towards this, but there are no commitments or a formal plan yet. Kathmandu residents with deep connections to this venerable sattal must get involved to make sure that the funds do get collected, that the rebuilding does happen, and that it happens in a faithful, earthquake-resistant manner. Along the way, we must not be shy about demanding accountability and results from our public servants, who are paid with our money to take care of heritage sites like Kasthamandap. An immediate challenge here seems to be confusion about which institution owns the main responsibility for heritage conservation: The Ancient Monuments Act assigns the responsibility to the Department of Archaeology, but local governance laws point to municipal bodies. Then there are NGOs such as Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust and others. Let us fix this by assigning clear roles and responsibilities, transparent chains of command, and clear coordination between all relevant groups. Modern Information Technology makes the management and communication of all this straightforward. What is more challenging, of course, is for all stakeholders to agree on policy and priorities. But it must be done.