The Haunted House

The main gate of the building is carelessly filled with scattered books and documents. The stairway is dark. The windows and doors on the both sides are worn out, damaged and rugged. Most of the rooms are empty. The rooms are full of scattered documents, rugged furniture. Dead silence. Spider’s waves can be seen everywhere.

The spiral shaped downstairs, which cannot be used without light, goes towards ground floor from the above storey. There is an unused library, an old kitchen including mountain of damaged tables, chairs and cupboards. A bad smell! There is the sound of water drops as if water has been leaked somewhere in the building. Many rooms are impossible to enter because of darkness.

The building seems to be a horror movie’s haunted house. The horrible building located at the Tribhuvan University (TU) premises in Kirtipur, Kathmandu is of Center for Economic Development and Administration (CEDA), one of the research institutes of TU. The building is designed and constructed with the blend of Nepali and western architecture. However, it has become rugged because of lack of utilization. Another building with CEDA’s office is also in the same condition.

But the situation was different some twenty years ago. Bhagawati Pandey, one of the cleaning staffs, who is working for three decade in CEDA, remembers how she used to be busy in wiping the building’s floor. “Foreigner guests including Nepalese used to come here. The program hall used to be busy with different training, seminars and so on.” Now, she is spending her leisure time in office talking with her colleagues. “We did not have free time in the past”, she says.

It has a library and a documentation section, to facilitate its researchers, teachers and trainers but it never seems to be opened. According to Dr. Ram Chandra Dhakal, the library has a collection of reports, mimeographs, periodicals and books related to development, public administration, business management, economics, anthropology, sociology, psychology, political science and geography etc. The centre publishes research reports, bibliographies, case studies, seminar reports and occasional papers. It has its own half yearly newsletter, “CEDA News” through which the progress of the ongoing projects/activities is made public but the organization has not able to publish its journals regularly. The centre has one auditorium hall accommodating 100 people and two other seminar halls of moderate size, each having the capacity to room 30 people. But they are not utilized too.

Dr. Hari Dhoj Khadka, recently retired researcher from CEDA observed both rise and fall of this once reputed research organization. “These building used to be full with researchers. It was the hub for national-international academic debate’, he says, “I do not think anyone will believe me.”

The Centre for Economic Development and Administration (CEDA) was established on May 15, 1969 under a tripartite agreement between His Majesty’s Government of Nepal, TU and the Ford Foundation. Started as an autonomous institution, the centre was later integrated into TU and given the status of an institute on December 15, 1975 after the National Education System Plan (NESP) was implemented.

CEDA has been serving as a policy-research centre contributing towards the national development policies and strategies. The centre’s activities are basically confined to research, consultancy and training programs. Since then, it is limited mainly in consultancy services to government, non-government and donor agencies rather than research and training. After the establishment of Republic, the research center was continuously became the political intervention and lack of policy.

CEDA has twenty supporting staffs and six office assistants but they are reluctant to manage office. Nobody cares and takes the responsibility of office management. “It has been more than 50 years since the construction of building. But government has not allocated any budget for its maintenance”, says CEDA’s Executive Director Dhakal, “Physical things need regular maintenance.”

CEDA’s staffs remember the busy organization with research and training. There was both work and money. Their view is clear- When we work more, need extra money! “There is nothing to hide. We need money on the basis of our work”, Pandey shares, “They (who heads organization) take benefits from organization. They do not think either about us and this institute.”

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