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Convent caught up in demolition program

Bulldozers move in as part of road-widening scheme

Nuns pray at the Missionary of Sisters convent after the exterior wall was demolished Nuns pray at the Missionary of Sisters convent after the exterior wall was demolished
  • Chirendra Satyal, Kathmandu
  • Nepal
  • July 23, 2012
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A convent has become the latest victim of a road-widening scheme in Kathmandu that has turned many businesses and homes into little more than a pile of rubble.

Bulldozers smashed down the exterior walls, gate and whole sections of the Missionaries of Charity convent on Saturday evening as part of plans to extend the width of the road in front of the building from eight to 14 meters.

The sisters will have to demolish part of the three-story structure themselves to accommodate the widened road meaning they will lose their first-floor chapel and a play room for the 30-plus children who live onsite, many of whom are orphans or suffer from diseases including tuberculosis.

“We were only given two days notice and then we quickly moved things from the rooms near the road as we did not know what to expect,” said Sister Brigid Ann, the convent superior.

About 10 sisters have lived in the convent for almost three decades, she added.

Plans to widen the road have left dozens of street vendors without a business, while those affected say the government has offered little in the way of compensation.

Where the demolition work has damaged walls, pipes and other infrastructure, property owners complain that they have had to foot the bill. The convent must pay for a new wall and gate from its own funds, said Sister Ann.

The bishop of Kathmandu, Anthony Sharma, has also been hit by the road-widening scheme. He was forced to build a new front gate a few meters further into his property in the south of the capital.
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