At least two residential buildings and a well know hotel located at Bakhundol – Sanepa area were severely damaged and a dozen other buildings developed cracks on Chaitra 25 (April 7, 2023) a week before Nepal celebrated New Year 2080 B.S., as a result of illegal construction works carried out by Summit Apartments, owned by Chaudhary Group and three other business groups. The Summit Apartments owned by among others, only billionaire of Nepal Binod Chaudhary and prominent industrialist and former minister Ravi Bhakta Shrestha, was digging some 30 feet below the ground for the construction of multi-story buildings in the area close to Hotel Greenwich Village for months despite several warnings and concerns issued by the locals in writing.
However, the damage caused by the illegal construction doesn’t stop there. According to the locals, the area is developing more and more cracks every day, which has become a matter of great concern for the safety of people living in the area. With the commencement of the rainy season, the incidents of bigger landslide in the area cannot be ruled out, said a local engineer familiar with the incident. Although the Lalitpur Metropolitan City has formed a committee headed by Deputy Mayor Manjali Shakya Bajracharya, and decided to take action against the Summit Apartments, its progress has been very slow, complain the victims of the construction works. The evaluation of the damage caused by the construction works is yet to be assessed. The metropolis has not yet initiated any legal action against the Apartments, which started the illegal construction works without even conducting Environmental Impact Assessment and submitting a map to the metropolis.
What is more surprising is that Lalitpur Mayor Chiribabu Maharjan and the metropolis administration did not notice the undergoing construction works that began in the site months ago before the locals registered a complaint against the Apartments at the Lalitpur Metropolis following the April 7 accident. It is worth rercalling here that the residence of Mayor Chiribabu is just 100 metre away from the site. Although the construction works have been halted in the area for the time being, no attention has been paid so far to reduce the possible risk of landslide near the site such as construction of retaining wall in the area. Hotel Greenwich Village, which was otherwise full in the tourist season is now compelled to vacate its rooms due to the cracks developed in the entire building of the property. Several other businesses operating in the area have also been adversely affected due to the illegal construction.