The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has dropped the plan of operating ancient palaces in Kathmandu as hotels following the change in its leadership, officials at the authority said.
In the last week of October, the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government had appointed Yubaraj Bhusal as chief executive of the NRA after Govind Raj Pokhrel quit the position to contest in the federal elections.
“The plan was floated by former CEO Pokhrel and it died a silent death following his resignation,” an official at the authority told the Post. The source also claimed that the plan did not hold enough gravity even when Pokhrel was at the helm. “Some of us had suggested that it isn’t doable,” the official said.
According to The Kathmandu Post, the NRA had pushed the plan to retrofit such old structures built in the Shah and Rana eras with an objective to efficiently maintain them. In several countries, including in neighbouring India, ancient palaces have been used as boutique hotels and are among the most sought after properties.
The NRA had formed a panel under Sarbajit Prasad Mahato to conduct a study and advise it whether converting such ancient palaces into luxury hotels would be feasible under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. The study committee was asked to recommend ancient properties based on their location and other features and possibilities of renovation for commercial use without having any impact on their aesthetics.
According to the NRA, apart from the intent of the top leadership and bureaucracy, issues over the ownership of such properties in Kathmandu ultimately put paid to the plan. “The former CEO had envisioned such concept after noticing palace hotels in India. Most of the palaces in India are owned by the government, but that isn’t the case in Nepal which makes it quite unfeasible,” the official said.