Sunday, January 22, 2012

House that caught Dahal's fancy

KATHMANDU, Jan 22: On Saturday, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal welcomed UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal as the first senior politician to visit his new residence in Lazimpat, Kathmandu.
Apart from discussing the mundane peace process, the two prominent players of nation politics also talked about the new residence that sprawls over three ropanis of land in the posh belt of Lazimpat.

Ever since the former rebels came above ground, the Dahal family had been staying in a three-story building in the congested Khusibu town-planning in Nayabazaar.

“The old residence was too congested and not appropriate in terms of security. So we finally moved into the new residence last Thursday,” said Samir Dahal, an aide to Chairman Dahal.

The Maoist chairman was planning move into a new location for the last two years. The state security officials had frequently advised Dahal to shift from the area that adjoins the tourist hotspot of Thamel.

“Even Girijababu [late NC president Girija Prasad Koirala] has asked the chairman to leave the building for security,” Samir Dahal stated.

According to him, at least three houses at different locations in Kathmandu had been identified and the Lazimpat house, which has 15 medium-sized rooms, finally caught Dahal´s fancy. “We okayed the deal after finding it appropriate from several different points of view,” said Samir who is also Dahal´s nephew.

According to Dahal´s aides, the new two-and-a-half storey house, which is located at a stone´s throw from Hotel Sangri-La, is spacious and quite safe from the point of view of security. It was renovated and expanded to suit the requirements of the Dahal family and a separate building was also constructed to shelter some 70 personnel for their security. There is also a table tennis court.

Altogether seven cars can be parked inside the walled residence with enough space to walk around. The vehicles of the VIPs, including the foreign dignitaries, had to be parked in the streets in front of the old residence due to lack of parking space inside.

Though the owners of the house could not be confirmed with certainty, Samir said that the Dahals struck a deal with the relatives of the owner who is said to be currently staying out of the country. “Before fixing the rent we have to take into account the house maintenance cost,” he said.

But an aide to Dahal told Republica that the new residence is expected to cost the party around Rs 103,000 a month. The party used to pay Rs 50,000 in rent for the old residence.

Wife Sita, daughter Ganga, son Prakas, daughter-in-law Srijana, granddaughter Smriti and grandson Prasiddha will be staying with Dahal in the new residence.

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