‘Mahakavi’s House Demolition Was Not Informed To DoA’

Nepal Academy has demolished the historic residence of the great poet (Mahakavi) Laxmi Prasad Devkota without consulting or obtaining approval from the Department of Archaeology (DoA).
Under the Ancient Monument Preservation Act, any entity seeking to change the fundamental features of an ancient monument, maintain them, renovate them or demolish them entirely are mandatorily required to take permission from the DoA.
However, Director General Damodar Gautam said that Nepal Academy did not even inform the Department before demolishing Devkota’s home.
“Nepal Academy demolished the four-storey building, located on the Shastri Marg Road, Maitidevi, Kathmandu, in two days without the knowledge or consent of any authorised agency,” alleged heritage conservationist Rabindra Puri.
Puri had been called by Nepal Academy two years ago to inspect Devkota’s house, Kavi Kunja, and advise on its renovation. The Academy team had also visited Puri’s Namuna Ghar (Model House) in Bhaktapur to learn how to preserve the structural integrity of old buildings without tearing them down and completely rebuilding them.
But unfortunately, when demolishing, the Academy did not talk to any experts or agencies, Puri lamented.
“Devkota’s house was three times stronger than my Namuna Ghar. It could have been easily renovated without being torn down,” he said.
Puri further said that the chairman of Ward No. 30 of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, where the house is located, was also unaware of the demolition and claimed that the Academy had not got the plans of the new building approved from the ward.
The house that once belonged to the late Mahakavi came under the ownership of Nepal Academy two years ago. “At the time, we were confident that the Academy would conserve the house and keep the house that Devkota lived and breathed in alive. But alas! By destroying the building, the Academy chose to destroy the memories of Mahakavi Devkota,” Puri expressed his sadness.
Meanwhile, Nepal Academy has started work of constructing a new house by preparing a detailed project report (DPR) and awarding the tender.
According to the Academy officials, the new building, which will be used as a Devkota museum, is being constructing at a cost of Rs. 711 million.
As per the DPR, the four–storied building of the museum would be completed in two years.

Source : TRN,