Separate fund to rebuild lost heritage

  • post quake reconstruction
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jul 15, 2015-

In addition to Rs2 billion apportioned for restoration of archaeological structures in the budget for the next fiscal year, the government has also pledged to create a separate Heritage Fund bringing hope that the country can recover its lost heritage.

“No stone will remain unturned to revive Nepal as one of the world’s most attractive destinations by restoring our unique features,” Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat told the Parliament on Tuesday while presenting the budget. Historical heritage, temples, infrastructures, monasteries, mosques and damaged by the quake will be constructed by maintaining their original shape with new technology, he added.

Out of Rs74 billion allocated for National Reconstruction Fund envisioned by the government for “moving forward reconstruction works expeditiously”, Rs2 billion is meant for archaeological structures alone. The fund will also have a provision for a separate Heritage Fund for which contributions will be collected from Nepalis around the world through ‘Our Heritage-Our Responsibility’ campaign, Mahat said. Apart from the reconstruction fund, an additional Rs17 billion has been allocated for general rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged structures.

According to the Department of Archaeology, a total of 745 historical, cultural and religious monuments in 20 districts were damaged by the Great Earthquake and its aftershocks. Among them, 133 have been destroyed, while 612 have sustained partial damage. An estimated Rs 20.56 billion will be required to rebuild the damaged monuments, according to the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment report prepared by the National Planning Commission.

Funds allocated by the government for the purpose has come to the delight of DoA. Its Director General Bhesh Narayan Dahal said that the assessment of damage and requirements have been completed and the fund will be used for the next phase, which is restoration.

Additionally, the government has decided to levy one percent tax on telecommunication service fees which will be deposited in the Heritage Fund. In wake of several private organisations expressing willingness to rebuild damaged historical and cultural monuments, especially the Dharahara tower in Kathmandu, the finance minister said construction permission will be given to national and foreign institutions if they wish to construct the cultural heritages with a condition to use shape, design and maintain quality as approved by the government.

Due to widespread damage to monuments of archaeological, historical, cultural and religious importance in the country due to the April 25 earthquake, it was feared that they were lost forever. There is a serious threat that Kathmandu will be taken off the World Heritage List by Unesco as all seven heritage sites in the Valley have sustained significant damage. World Heritage Committee has given Nepal a year’s time to take correctional action before reviewing the status of monuments.

The budget is very encouraging and adequate for carrying out restoration activities for this year, Dahal said. Historical settlements carrying cultures, centre points of tourist attractions and traditional settlements will be reconstructed in their original shape with a lead of the community, he added.

Published: 16-07-2015 07:44

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