Urban Development Minister Ram Kumari Jhakri has said that the Shital Niwas will not be expanded to include the National Police Training Academy at Maharajgunj.
The then KP Sharma Oli government in August 2018 had taken a decision to shift the police academy to Panauti of Kavrepalanchowk and expand the President's Office including the academy's land.
But Minister Jhakri told Setopati that the academy will remain as it is due to its importance and police sentiments and opined that the academy's premises can be used as parking space if there is lack of parking when formal programs are held at the President's Office.
Serving and retired police officers were unhappy with the decision and were lobbying to not shift it pointing that some of the trainings are impossible to be done outside Kathmandu. Eleven retired IGPs had even handed over a memorandum to Prime Minister (PM) Sher Bahadur Deuba immediately after he assumed office in July 2021 to not dismantle the academy at Maharajgunj.
Minister Jhakri said that expansion of the President's Office is not necessary and the academy premises can be used for parking when needed. She clarified that trainings will be held at both the places even after the academy in Panauti is completed.
"Ownership of retired police officers is connected to the academy. It should be protected as it is as some officers have even given private land for the academy. President's Office need not be expanded because institutional importance and history of any organization cannot be erased," Jhakri stressed.
She also added that the government will convert the current ministerial quarter premises at Pulchow into a park once the quarters for ministers being constructed at Bhainsepati are completed.
"We plan to shift the current ministerial quarters and Agriculture Department to unused areas elsewhere and shift the departments there to the Forest Department premises and construct an open area or park there," she revaled. "There are no areas apart from Tundikhel in the Kathmandu Valley where a thousand persons can be accommodated at the time of crisis. We are preparing to build parks at even other places."
She added that open spaces would be expanded at Lainchaur area, and New Baneshwore-Minbhawan including the Survey Department premises. She stated that the government offices at those open spaces would be shifted to the Forest Department premises at Babar Mahal that will be converted into a hub of government offices.
The government earlier had planned to turn the current ministerial quarters at Pulchowk to state guest house to accommodate visiting foreign dignitaries instead of keeping them at hotels.