Quake displaces PM’s office, other agencies

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Quake displaces PM’s office, other agencies

May 13, 2015-

The building inside Singha Durbar compound that houses the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM), and the National Planning Commission (NPC) have been severely damaged in the April 25 earthquake and the latest one that struck the country on Tuesday afternoon.

The scale of damage reveals that the government had not taken any seismic retrofitting measures. The damage in the building has prompted the OPMCM and the NPC to relocate their offices.  

We are looking for buildings suitably inside Singha Durbar, said OPMCM  Secretary Shanta Raj Subedi.

As the roof of the OPMCM has been severely damaged and could collapse any time, the road to west of Singha Durbar where the building is located has been declared off-limits for vehicles and pedestrians.

After the earthquake, the Cabinet meetings are being held at the building of the National Integrated Centre.

The office of the Chief Secretary Leelamani Poudyal has also developed cracks, forcing him to move out. In the wake of the quake, he has been working from other government offices inside the Singha Durbar complex. The building of the Ministry of Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Women, Child and Social Welfare have also been damaged.

The buildings of the Foreign Ministry, the Kathmandu District Court, and the Nepal Army Headquarters outside Singha Durbar have also developed cracks, further exposing the vulnerability of the government buildings.

Acting Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi said as the earthquake have damaged the building of the Foreign Ministry, they have set up a temporary office under a tent.

So far, the authorities have not taken any initiative to investigate the cause behind the damage witnessed by these government buildings, many of which were built not long ago.

Chief Secretary Poudyal has said that if the people involved in the construction of these buildings are found guilty of violating the building code then they should be booked.

Over 10,803 government buildings were destroyed in the April 25 quake while 15,034 were damaged, according to the Home Ministry.

NZ team helps with building code

Non-resident New Zealand Ambassador to Nepal Grahame Morton has said that four seismological experts from his country are currently in Nepal, preparing a post-quake building code.

“Some renowned structural engineers, including top seismologists form New Zealand, in coordination with the Department of Urban Development, are preparing the building code in the aftermath of the April 25 earthquake,” Morton told the Post on Tuesday. Besides, New Zealand has also pledged to provide aid, collected from various communities, to the quake victims of Nepal within a couple of weeks.

Morton met with Prime Minister Sushil Koriala and Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey and pledged aid to the families and individuals affected by the earthquake.

When asked about Nepal’s decision to refuse New Zealand’s assistance earlier, Morton said it was up to Nepal to decide whether to accept its assistance.

Published: 14-05-2015 09:54

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