India, China outline areas for rebuilding

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Bhadra Sharma, Kathmandu

Feb 27, 2016-

Nepal’s two giant neighbours—India and China—have outlined their areas of engagement for post-earthquake reconstruction, 10 months after the country was rocked by a massive earthquake and eight months after they pledge assistance. 

A massive earthquake that struck the country on April 25 killed nearly 9,000 people and destroyed tens of thousands of houses. Two months after the tremor, Nepal on June 25 hosted International Conference for Nepal’s Reconstruction where over $4.1 billion was pledged for Nepal’s reconstruction efforts.  

India on February 20, during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to the southern neighbour, signed a memorandum of understanding with Nepal on the utilisation of $250 million grant component of the Indian government’s $1 billion assistance package for post-earthquake reconstruction.

According to the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), India has proposed using $200 million (Rs22.06 billion) for reconstruction of 50,000 houses in 14 districts worst affected by the quake. The remaining $50 million (Rs 5.51 billion) will be utilised for rebuilding health, education and cultural heritage sites.

Similarly, the Chinese government recently proposed using its grant assistance of $480 million (Rs52.93 billion) for reconstruction of damaged roads, schools, 

housing, hospitals and heritage sites as well as for capacity building for disaster prevention.  

“The grant provided by the Indian government will be utilised mainly for the reconstruction of public and private houses. Some fund will also be used for rebuilding cultural heritage sites,” said NRA Spokesperson Suresh Adhikari.

The northern neighbour, according to the Ministry of Finance (MoF), has proposed building schools and hospitals in Sindhupalchok district, schools and houses in Rasuwa district and repairing Kathmandu Durbar Square.

Prem Upadhyaya, under-secretary at the International Economic Cooperation Coordination Division at the MoF, said that China has also proposed providing necessary support for reconstruction of Swyambhunath “if the government wished so”, along with renovation of the Nuwakot palace.

Upadhyaya, who oversees the economic cooperation with China at MoF, said that the northern neighbour has also proposed rebuilding damaged hospitals in Nuwakot, providing medical equipment and imparting training. China has also proposed utilising its assistance for constructing and operating Inland Container Depots (ICD) in Sindhupalchok, the district which was most affected by the quake. The under-construction ICD was damaged by the earthquake. “China has also proposed providing training for the operation of the ICD,” said Upadhyaya.

Upgrading Civil Service Hospital, conducting feasibility study of Araniko Highway expansion and Rasuwagadhhi-Syaphrubesi Road are other areas that China has shown interest to work on. The NRA has also begun consultation with the MoF on the loan that was pledged during the international conference. 

“Some donors including the World Bank and India have pledged loan as well. We will approach them after holding discussions with finance ministry officials,” said NRA Spokesperson Adhikari.

Published: 27-02-2016 08:45

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