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This company builds ‘sustainable’ houses using traditional mud-stone technology – OnlineKhabar English News



How many old traditional houses do you get to see nowadays in Kathmandu? No doubt, they can be counted on fingers. And, it is no secret that the valley has already become a dense jungle of concrete.

Amidst this scenario, Narayan Acharya is on a mission to build eco-friendly and sustainable green buildings in the country through his startup named Sustainable Future.

Revival of old technology

Acharya’s company has already constructed over 50 buildings ranging from small to big within five years of operation. Started with an initial investment of about Rs 2 million in 2016, the company has already done a turnover of about Rs 40 million by now.

“We use rammed earth technology to construct the buildings. These techniques were used by our ancestors to build their houses,” Acharya says, “We just improvised the techniques used by them for the better output that suits modern needs.”

Sustainable Future manages raw materials like clay, stone, soil required for the construction from the site area only. An eco-friendly house made by this startup has its own aesthetic value and nature. “This house maintains the heat, controls moisture, and offers breathability itself inside the house,” informs Acharya.

The walls of such buildings are 16 to 18 inch thick. And, the buildings are no more than two storeys. Such eco-friendly buildings are made using 20-30 per cent clay, locally available sand-mixed soil, stone chips, and 4-5 per cent cement, without using any machinery.

Acharya argues the avoidance of machinery serves two purposes: no pollution, and employment opportunities to the workers.

“But, we had to mix the cement in our construction as the building code of Nepal says so. But, we mainly follow the building code of New Zealand,” Acharya says, “… because very few things about this type of building construction are mentioned in the code here.”

Change begins at home

Acharya, who is originally from Jumla, came to Kathmandu and worked on many environment-related projects. The man, who is 50 now, even worked on one of the projects of the United Nations in the beekeeping and resource management area in Somalia for two years. 

Construction underway. Photo: Narayan Acharya

In 2001, he went to the United Kingdom and did a course on permaculture and green buildings. He says, “I got to learn about the rammed earth technology during my study there. Also, I worked in the same field until 2006.”

Just before going to the United Kingdom, and after buying land in the Kathmandu valley, he and his wife were searching for eco-friendly alternatives to construct their house. Acharya opens up, “We were very sure that we did not want to make our house using concrete. Therefore, we thought of using compressed earth blocks for building our house. However, after learning about the technology, we both decided to use this.”

Accordingly, he started constructing his house in Godavari of Lalitpur in 2011. And, the house was complete in 2013. Acharya says, “During the construction, I got to study practically and know a lot of things about this technology. And, thus, I realised that this construction technique is very suitable and significant for Nepal and everyone should know about this.”

About 700 people visited his house as it was the first house of its kind in Nepal, claims Acharya.

His family had lived in a concrete house in the past, and shifting to the new technology was exciting. He shares, “After shifting to the house, we gradually found that the house used to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. There was a vast difference in the temperature inside and outside of the house.”

After realising the beauty and value of the house, Acharya thought of promoting this eco-friendly technology of housing. Meanwhile, Arun Rimal, a USA-based Nepali engineer, was looking for someone to build a hospital in an eco-friendly way in Achham of far-western Nepal.

A building constructed by Sustainable Future. Photo: Narayan Acharya

In the process, Rimal got to know about Acharya, contacted him, and also visited his house. After that, Rimal not only hired Acharya to build the hospital, but he also joined hands with him in establishing a company to promote this technology.

“As he [Rimal] was from an engineering background, it became a plus point for the work we do.”

Acharya says they started their startup with an aim to promote healthy living, create social impact (provide jobs to the needy ones) and support the environment. Acharya also adds, “Not only us, we believe that all the businesses should abide by these concepts.”

Though the duo had been actively working in this sector since 2013, they only formally registered their company in 2016.

Executing the model

As soon as he completed his own house construction and found a new partner in 2013, Acharya began efforts to attract other clients also. The next year, he found one in a goat farm in Chitlang of Makawanpur.

Interior of Acharya’s house. Photo: Narayan Acharya

“We mobilised the same workforce that built my house,” he says, “Then, some people visiting the farm got attracted to our work and approached us. And, we built a residential building in Lalitpur.”

Then came the turn of the hospital in Achham, the idea of which had resulted in the partnership between Acharya and Rimal

They had already created about five rammed-earth-model structures before the 2015 earthquake hit Nepal. “The earthquake stood as a test for us. And, our buildings stood up to that test very well,” he smiles, “All the buildings were safe and didn’t have any cracks. And, this added a lot to our business.”

As the company has not promoted itself via social media, the major marketing tool of this startup has been the word of mouth, says Acharya. By now, it has constructed both residential and public buildings in Kavrepalanchok, Sindhupalchok, Surkhet, Chitwan, Kathmandu valley, and many other parts of the country. The entrepreneur claims most of his clients are happy with the work and the results. 

“I always stay with the workers on the site every time and also keep the clients on the site. We frequently discuss the working mechanism of the construction with the clients and workers and assure them the quality work.”

Windows and walls of house constructed using rammed earth technology. Photo: Narayan Acharya

According to Acharya, the cost of constructing a house in this model ranges from Rs 4,200- Rs 4,500 per square foot on average. The cost is almost close to the cost of constructing a concrete building. The company with around 50 workers also provides insulation services for roofs, floors, and windows.

Moving on

“However, it is not always easy to find the workers,” says Acharya, “…because not every worker can give the quality and not every worker has the patience that is required for constructing a building using rammed earth technology.”

This is not the only challenge that Sustainable Future has been facing. Other hurdles are the lack of awareness of ‘green’ buildings and their importance among the general public. Acharya says the country’s building code also needs to be changed to create a favourable environment for his company.

Gradually overcoming the challenges, Sustainable Future has been completing around three to four projects yearly. Acharya and his team are aiming to promote this technology of housing to the wider population and to transfer this technology to the younger generation.

“I want more and more people to build this type of eco-friendly homes for sustainable living and environment. Also, I want the younger generations to know, learn and follow this technology.”

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Dambar Chemjong’s efforts to revive TU’s glory – OnlineKhabar English News



Dambar Chemjong is sitting outside his office in the Central Department of Anthropology at Tribhuvan University, the oldest and biggest university in the country, briefing a prospective student about the benefits of studying anthropology. His eyes light up as he talks as that one can clearly see how passionate he is when it comes to it. He shows the prospective student the research conducted by the department. To make things easier for the student, he even calls to ask when admissions for the department would open. To him, this is just a part of his job.

“I want to change things. Make a difference,” says Chemjong, the head of the Central Department of Anthropology at the university. “They say the university is dead and not like it was. But, I beg to differ and want to prove to people that it is alive and doing well.”

Chemjong took office in August 2018 and since then has changed the face of the department. He has added relevance to the course, created a fun learning environment, established an automated library and even constructed a garden to add some aesthetic to an otherwise dull TU compound. 

But now, he wants to do more. Through small efforts like these, he wants his students to produce journals and research on topics not discussed before. He wants to create a learning environment at TU itself and hopes other departments can do the same so that the TU can once again become the students’ first choice if they choose to stay in Nepal.

The garden was constructed with funds from a USAID-funded project. Photo: Aryan Dhimal

Big issues with big institution

“Small things like these go a long way. You need a feel-good factor,” he says. “But, this is just a beginning as a lot more needs to be done for the university to do that.”

The major problem, Chemjong says is the TU’s centralised structure that does not help the departments or the constituent campuses that are spread across Nepal from Taplejung in the east to Darchula in the west. He says that currently, the TU is too big. Currently, the university along with its constituent campuses in all seven provinces has over 600,000 students.

“If you look at top universities in Europe and the US, there are hardly 10,000 students. Only state universities in the US have more than 10,000,” he says.

His solution for this is to scrape all the constituent campuses and set up different universities in each province with not more than 5,000 students in one.

“What is the use of having over half-a-million students when you can’t even conduct exams and release results on time,” he questions.

Chemjong wants this library to become a learning centre for anthropology students. Photo: Aryan Dhimal

Another problem he says is having to ask the central campus at Kirtipur for even minor decisions. From adding a bench to staff for cleaning, everything has to go through the central campus at Kirtipur.

“If you want to make any decisions at a campus in Darchula, you’ll have to ask permission from Kirtipur. This, to me, makes no sense. If we can decentralise it, I’m sure in the next decade, we can see a lot of improvement.”

But, for that to happen, the leg-pulling culture at the university needs to stop, he says. He calls on teachers and officials at the university to understand what the place stands for and be true to its principles.

“As professors and teachers, we need to understand that we have to evolve because today’s age is different. Students are different. If they won’t find value, they’ll go abroad.”

While he says that students going abroad is more to do with it being more accessible, he is aware that not all departments in the university offer attractive education.

“I don’t want to speak about others, but there are some courses which are quite archaic. That needs to change for the TU to become a sought-after destination for students.”

Journals published by the TU Central Department of Anthropology. Photo: Aryan Dhimal

For continuous growth

He gives the example of his own department. When he started out in 2018, there were only nine students. Today, there are nearly 30 as the department is planning on adding PhD courses having recently added MPhil.

“Constantly evolving is important in today’s age. We’ve also been talking about credit transfers and being a part of the Erasmus exchange programmes. These are what make courses attractive for students along with the different research and job opportunities that we have been helping them out with.”

This, he says, will help the individual capacity of both the students and teachers as with better teachers, the place will have better students who will drive each other towards perfection. But, its not as easy and he knows that.

“Good teachers are not appreciated in Nepal. I feel that a good teacher who has the ability to pull students needs to be paid more. It’s simple. But, teachers getting paid more in Nepal is not the norm, which is why many do research work individually with other organisations.”

A classroom at the TU Central Department of Anthropology. Photo: Aryan Dhimal

He says he does not blame them but instead the system that makes it sound bad that teachers work for these organisations. He says, this, instead, should be promoted like it is in the west as it will improve the teachers and be good for the organisation. 

“But, here, they want them to sit in a room and not be open to exploring, which is dumb.”

This is why he says people at the TU need to be vocal as it can create a change through dialogue and conflict. 

“They say I talk a lot. But, I do so because not many here do. I want to make sure that this department does well till I’m here. I don’t like leg-pulling. I want to work with all I have and give all that I have for this department and help both students and teachers reach their goals.”

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Hero Motocorp launches Hero Xtreme 160R and Hero Hunk 150R in Nepal – OnlineKhabar English News



Kathmandu, March 15

Building on its commitment to providing youthful, premium and technologically-advanced products in the Nepali market, Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, on Monday launched two new premium motorcycles in the country – Hero Xtreme 160R and Hero Hunk 150R.

Adding a striking and powerful new chapter to the popular premium brand Xtreme, the Xtreme 160R further strengthens Hero MotoCorp’s presence in the premium motorcycle segment, says the company.

The motorcycle offers an unparalleled mix of performance, sportiness, and features while boasting a muscular stance with an optimum mix of comfort and control.

The Xtreme 160R is accompanied by an all-new Hunk 150R, designed to deliver an unmatched ride experience along with new-age styling.

Both the new motorcycles cater to the aspirations of the youth in Nepal and offer a dynamic combination of performance, styling, and differentiated appeal, the company claims.

The Xtreme 160R and Hunk 150 R will be available at Hero MotoCorp showrooms across the country.

The Xtreme 160R, which comes with a double-disc and a single-channel ABS is priced at Rs339,000 while the Hunk 150R which has the same feature is priced at Rs279,500.

Commenting on the launches, Sanjay Bhan, Head – Global Business, Hero MotoCorp, said, “ The Xtreme 160R has performed well in several global markets and we expect it to do well in Nepal too. We are confident that both the motorcycles will enable us to meet the aspirations of customers here.”


Class leading acceleration

Setting the bar for sportiness and real-world performance, the new Xtreme 160R comes with a 160cc air-cooled BS-VI Compliant engine that is powered by XSens technology and advanced Programmed-Fuel-Injection. The Engine delivers an impressive power output of 15 BHP @ 8500 RPM. Joining the fast lane with a class-leading acceleration – 0-60 km/h in 4.7 seconds, the motorcycle has one of the best power-to-weight ratios in its class, thanks to the low kerb-weight of 138.5 kg.

Exceptional handling

The new Xtreme 160R enjoys a commanding riding position with ergonomics engineered for the streets. The lightweight rigid diamond frame setup offers exceptional handling on the streets while making it a corner happy machine at the same time.

The 37mm telescopic front forks and a 7-step adjustable Rear Mono-shock Suspension setup is tuned for urban agility, providing precise handling and a smooth ride. Brakes with 276mm front petal disc and 220mm rear petal disc ensure that the rider is always in full control and confident of the stopping power. The 165 mm ground clearance ensures the ride is hurdle free.

First-in-segment features

The new Xtreme 160R is paired with a first-in-segmental LED package, from a sculpted full LED headlamp with LED DRLs in front, to LED indicators with hazard switch and down to the rear H signature LED tail lamp. The inverted fully digital LCD display together with the first-in-segment side-stand engine cut ff ensures the motorcycle is both technologically advanced and safe.

The head-turner is available in three vibrant colour combinations of pearl silver white, vibrant blue, and sports red.


Superior ride and handling

Equipped with a 149cc air-cooled engine, the core of Hunk 150R delivers an impressive 14.2 BHP of power and 12.6 Nm of torque.

Aimed at providing real-world performance, the all-new Hunk 150R features a lightweight yet rigid diamond tubular frame offering precise handling and stability in corners and straight roads. Paired with 130/70MM radial rear tyre, the Hunk 150R ensures a superior road grip is provided in all types of road and riding conditions.

The riding triangle has been tuned to provide the perfect balance of agility, stability, and comfort. The motorcycle also boasts of a first in category 7 step adjustable mono-shock suspension for best in class handling ensuring a sporty ride. The broad 37mm beefy front forks also ensure a stable and plush ride.

Best-in-class features

The motorcycle boasts many safety features and is equipped with the first in category optional single-channel ABS ensuring safe braking. Sporting a new alloy wheel design, the 276mm front, and 220mm rear disc brakes come as a standard feature for efficient and immediate power stopping in all riding conditions. 

Designed to provide ease of access, the motorcycle features a sporty digi-analogue instrument cluster with a side stand indicator, trip metre, and a service reminder. The self-start button comes as standard and the engine kill switch is for added convenience. 

Dynamic design and style 

The Hunk 150R flaunts a muscular fuel tank with aggressive shrouds that make a statement while riding. Adding to the striking appeal is a chiselled rear cowl, sporty headlight with wolf-eyed LED position lamps, LED taillight with LED light guides making it easier to get recognised even in dark. The sport-dynamic graphics actuate the design lines offering an unmistakable style.

Colours with expression

The Hunk 150R is available in three colours – NH1 black, sports red, and techno blue.  

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This group is trying hard to revive theatre culture in Dharan – OnlineKhabar English News



The history of drama in Dharan is said to be eight decades old. In the 2000s, there were about one and a half dozen theatre organisations, including Anam Natya Samuha. However, lately, the theatrical scene in Dharan had been slowing down.

Nevertheless, the younger generation is trying to bring the theatrical atmosphere of Dharan back to its old rhythm. Mainly, the Rangabhumi Academy is trying to revive the theatre culture in Dharan, also known as Lahureko Sahar (the city of soldiers).

New beginning

Recently, this theatrical troupe performed a play in the ‘Khuwalung Bachau Andolan’ (Save Khuwalung movement) held at Chatara Koshi Bridge.

Bishnu Moktan, the chairman of the academy, who also played as the Khuwalung Dhunga (stone) in the street play said, “Aware citizens cannot remain silent on national issues. Moreover, writers and artists should unite and take to the streets against regression.”

Through the play, he said that the Khuwalung stone was a symbol of the faith of the Kiranti community and hence, it should not be broken.

The artists of Rangabhumi Academy in Dharan were showing dramas against the dissolution of the House of Representatives continuously, terming the move ‘pratigaman’ (regression). However, as it was a small drama troupe outside the capital, it did not get much recognition.

Moktan, 32, has been teaching drama to teenagers and youth of Dharan since 2014 by establishing the Academy. A permanent resident of Chainpur, Sankhuwasabha, who has been living in Dharan for a decade, says, “In each play, we have cast local actors from Dharan.”

Bishnu Moktan

Along with Moktan, many youth including Hari Yuhang, Milan Chamling, Tulsa Thapa, Karishma Chhetri, Ashmin Subedi, Sandesh Dahal, and Goma Poudel are working in the academy.

Apart from this, the academy is also giving drama training to school kids. Along with acting, the academy is also helping them improve their skills in communications, singing, and literary writing.

Though the youth are trained by some established directors time and again, most of the time, Moktan himself is involved in teaching them.

In the last five years, the academy has successfully staged three plays ‘Aba Tauko Kahile Hallinchha?’, ‘Inghang’ and ‘Basai’. As of now, it is preparing to perform a play ‘Kumar Mama’ based on the story of Janak Rishi Chamling.

In 2018, the play ‘Inghang’ based on the Limbu culture was screened for 22 days. This gave the Rangabhumi Academy a distinct recognition.

Artistic enthusiasm

Despite that recognition, the academy has not got a sufficient audience. Hence, it is forced to show many plays without making the spectators pay. Due to that, the academy is facing financial problems.

Sometimes, the artists perform dramas by investing money from their own pockets and collecting donations.

Young actors in the academy are ready to do so because they say the plays have boosted their confidence as well as their acting ability. Artist Karishma Chhetri, who has been learning and acting simultaneously, considers it an opportunity to attend drama classes in Dharan itself.

Further, Bachchu Himanshu, a theatre worker, who came to Dharan from Kathmandu, says, “It is a very challenging task to do drama outside of the capital. These plays not only raise public awareness but also art awareness among the locals.”

Poet Chandrabir Tumbapo says plays of the academy have added new enthusiasm to the theatrical scene of Dharan.

Lack of infrastructures

Though it has already been four decades since the modern drama culture started in Dharan, there is no theatre house there. Therefore, the artists from Dharan go to either Kathmandu or Biratnagar. Similarly, they are failing to perform at the national level.

As of now, the plays are being staged in conference halls and community buildings of Dharan. Performing on such stages where other public events also take place makes it very uncomfortable, says Moktan. Meanwhile, he also mentioned that it is very crucial to have a theatre equipped with the needful technology.

This is why Moktan along with his friends have come together to build a theatre in Dharan. For this, they staged plays and collected donations. They also pitched their voice to the local bodies. And fortunately,  it was heard. MP Jaya Kumar Rai allocated Rs 4 million from the Parliamentary Development Fund for the theatre. Accordingly, the construction of a modern theatre has been started near a conference hall in Dharan sub-metropolitan city-8.

Likewise, a blueprint of a traditional style two-storey building on the area of 7290 square feet of land has been prepared. A theatre construction consumer committee has been formed under the coordination of veteran artist Prem Subba. The construction is expected to be complete in five years.

“It has been my dream for a long time to build a well-equipped theatre in Dharan. We have to struggle a lot to achieve that”.

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