Print Edition - 2016-02-16 | News
Heritage rebuilding from today
- Reconstruction campaign will formally begin from Sundhara, where the Dharahara once stood, says minister
Feb 16, 2016-Reconstruction of national heritage monuments which were destroyed by the Gorkha earthquake last year will finally start in full swing from Tuesday, the government has announced.
The Department of Archaeology, which has been allocated a reconstruction budget of Rs780 million for this fiscal year, had started rebuilding process from last month, inviting tenders or preparing to call tenders for a total of 115 damaged sites. But actual reconstruction has been slow and no tangible rebuilding has taken place nearly 10 months after the disaster.
A meeting of high-level National Tourism Council at Prime Minister’s residence in Baluwatar on Sunday decided to start reconstruction works from Sundhara at 4pm on Tuesday.
According to Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Ananda Prasad Pokharel, the government will formally launch the reconstruction campaign from Sundhara, where the Dharahara tower once stood.
According to the department, a total of 754 historical, cultural and religious monuments in 20 districts were damaged by the earthquake of April 25 last year and its aftershocks. Among them, 133 have been reduced to rubble, while 621 have sustained varied degrees of damage. The government’s Post Disaster Needs Assessment has estimated that Rs20.56 billion will be required to rebuild the damaged monuments.
The council meeting on Sunday also deliberated on ways to attract more tourists into the country; the number of tourists has dwindled since the earthquake and the recent border blockade by India.
Although the formation of the council was envisioned in Tourism Policy of 2009, it was never materialised till Sunday. Prime Minister KP Oli is the ex-officio chairman of the council while ministers from 20 ministries and other stakeholders are members.
NRA set to start works from Dolakha
A National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) team has planned to start reconstruction works from earthquake-hit Singati and nearby villages as the engineers are at the end of electronic data collection in Dolakha district. The team, comprising an NRA director, has visited the district along with Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Ananda Prasad Pokharel visited the district on Monday.
Quake victims asked questions to the NRA representatives about problems that they could possibly face during reconstruction. Minister Pokharel assured the victims that they would move ahead, correcting the reconstruction policies.
The team has announced that the reconstruction works will be launched in six quake-hit VDCs.
NRA Chief Executive Sushil Gyewali has said the reconstruction works will start from Dolakha as they are at the end of electronic data collection. “Around 90 percent of data collection has already been completed,” said Gyawali, adding that they will also be taking feedbacks from quake survivors.
The NRA has yet to set up a liaison office in the district. However, the authority has planned to start rebuilding works in Dolakha, Ramechhap and Okhaldhunga districts establishing a Sub-Regional Office.
Chief District Officer Devendra Lamichhane has assured to speed up reconstruction works in the VDCs where the engineers have already collected the data. The government has announced to provide aid money to the quake-hit families in instalments through banks to rebuild new houses. Each quake affected household will receive money based on an evaluation report of the NRA technicians.
Published: 16-02-2016 08:19