Money allocated for monasteries ‘not enough’

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 6, 2015-

A top official of government’s monastery management unit has said that the amount allocated for reconstruction of earthquake-ravaged monasteries in the country as per Post Disaster Needs Assessment is insufficient.

Buddhist Philosophy Promotion and Monastery Development Committee, an unit under Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development for development, preservation and maintenance of monasteries, had demanded at least Rs15 billion for reconstructing all the damaged monasteries. But the government’s meeting on reconstruction earlier this week chaired by National Reconstruction Authority CEO Govind Raj Pokhrel sanctioned just over Rs8 billion for the purpose.

“The amount is far less than we what is needed,” executive director of BPPMDC Narendra Kumar Gurung said. “The government does not seem serious towards rebuilding monasteries which are vital elements of everyday life for Buddhists.”

According to BPPMDC, at least 1,350 monasteries have collapsed in the country due to the Great Earthquake including well-known monasteries such as Seto Gumba in Ramkot, Rato Gumba in Sitapaila, Khumchey Gumba in Gorkha, Chrighyang  Gumba in Dolakha and Chirite Gumba in Sindhupalchok. The committee has prepared complete reports for reconstruction for 800 of them. Most of the monasteries are from the 14 hardest-hit districts such as Sindhupalchok, Dolakha, Dhading, Rasuwa, Solukhumbu, Ramechhap and Gorkha.

According to Gurung, nothing has been done towards preserving artefacts from the monasteries let alone reconstructing them. Gurung said that rebuilding the monasteries should be the first priority of the government as they are linked to cultural heritage of local communities.

“We need monasteries for performing marriage, death and worship rituals and other community programmes. Or else we could lose thousand-year-old traditions,” he said, adding that lamas and other disciples displaced from the monasteries are living as refugees in Kathmandu.

A total of 2,171 monasteries are registered with BPPMDC but officials say there are more than 4,500 in the country.

Published: 06-09-2015 07:40

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