Nepal’s Culture minister has asked the staff of the trust that operates the Pashupatinath Hindu Temple to start making preparations to reopen the iconic religious and heritage site where special worship was suspended following a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Addressing a review meeting of the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) on Sunday, Yogesh Bhattarai told the staff of the organisation to launch a development initiative at the UNESCO World Heritage site.
“I have received a complaint that the PADT was working in the interest of middlemen. Whoever is involved in it, it is not good and must be stopped immediately. Consider the interest of the religious site before acting on any plan,” said Bhattarai, who is also Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation.
The minister directed the staff to make preparations for the opening of the Pashupatinath Temple at a certain time during the day by adopting the health and safety measures, The Rising Nepal newspaper reported.
“Various individuals and groups are eying the properties of the PADT, therefore, you must be vigilant to control such activities,” the minister cautioned the staff of the trust.
He drew the attention of the PADT to the encroachment of the land in Gothatar that belonged to Pashupati.
“Immediately fix the boundary of the land and create a fence. If there are any structures created in the land, remove them,” Bhattarai said.
The minister said that it was important to keep an eye on the private investors who intend to make investments at the heritage site as the “crooked businessmen” could ruin the image of the religious site, the report said.
Founded in 1996, PADT is a trust established to conserve and operate the Pashupatinath Temple and other charitable institutions in the Pashupatinath UNESCO World Heritage Sites area.
Pashupatinath Temple is the largest temple complex in Nepal and stretches on both sides of the Bagmati River and sees thousands of worshippers from Nepal and India every day
Last month, India pledged to construct a Rs 2.33 crore sanitation facility at the temple complex to improve the infrastructure at the holy shrine for the pilgrims.