By Birat Anupam, Itahari, Feb 24: Kabyabatika is a popular and artistic hangout in Itahari. Located at ward number 5 of the Sub-Metropolitan City, Kabyabatika came into existence some two decades ago.
It was where multiple sculpture workshops, painting and theater sessions were held before its public identity as an art destination within Itahari. Once a decorated destination with concrete fencing and various statues of great national and international figures, Kabyabatika which roughly translates as 'poetry garden' in English, Kabyabatika started to lose its glamour after its pioneering activist and artist Bikram Shree left the venue and engaged himself on other art projects within and outside Itahari.
Of late, the local government has shown negligence towards this art destination. Recently, trees were felled to erect a concrete building inside Kabyabatika for the 5 number ward office of Itahari.
Artists like Bikram Shree and other literary figures like Subid Guragain have been critical of the encroachment of the art venue. A struggle committee has been formed under the leadership of Subid Guragain, a noted editor and a literary figure from Itahari.
Guragain said it was a sort of crime to encroach artistic land for administrative building. ''There could have been other options for administrative building for the ward office'', said Guragain. He added, ''All art enthusiastic, literary figures and locals must oppose this move.''
Spanning over 2 Bigha and 19 Kaththa area, Kabyabatika must be used only for artistic and touristic purposes, argued Guragain.
On the other side, ward chairperson Kalyan Bahadur Karki, said it was not unjustified to use Kabyabatika area for the ward office. ''We only use 3 Kaththa area which is not harmful to the protection of the rest of the Kabyabatika area,'' said ward chairperson Karki. He added, ''This is good both for the ward office building and Kabyabatika conservation.''