Monastery rebuilding delay angers monks

- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu
Monks from 14-quake affected districts have formed a struggle committee to press their demand to the government. Post PHOTO

Jul 13, 2017-Alleging that the government failed to pay heed to construct and reconstruct the Buddhist monasteries destroyed even more than two years after the devastating earthquake, monks from 25 districts, who have gathered in Kathmandu, said they would organise a mass protest in the Capital on July 25. 

Monks from 14 districts most affected by the quake as well as those from additional 11 districts formed a struggle committee on Tuesday to press the authorities to rebuild the monasteries.

A total of 993 monasteries were destroyed by the 2015 earthquake, according to 

the Buddhist Philosophy Promotion and Monastery Development Committee (BPPMDC) under the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD).

But none of these structures has been reconstructed even more than two years after the quake. 

“We have decided to bring chairpersons and members of all 993 monasteries to march on the Capital roads,” said Sano Babu Lama, a monk from Lalitpur, who is the 

coordinator of the struggle committee.  

Last year, the BPPMDC had written to each monastery to draw up maps in line with the original structure. A budget for Rs 8 billion was estimated from the reconstruction of all the monasteries. 

The quake-damaged monasteries divided into five categories, as per which category A monasteries (49) were entitled to get Rs 10.5 million, category B (120) Rs 8.2 million, category C (190) Rs 7.1 million, category D (76) Rs 6.1 million and category E monasteries (558) were to get Rs 5.1 million. 

All the monasteries were to be constructed, as per the plan, within five years. Two years have already elapsed, and reconstruction is yet to start, as none of them has received the money.  

 “We had dug up the foundation, hired contractors for making windows and doors and spent around half a million rupees from our trust. But when we went to ask for the money, the authorities in respective districts told us to go to the Capital,” said Dawa Sherpa, a monk from Solukhumbu, adding that he has been to the Capital at least five times, but to no avail. 

Sindhupalchok is the most affected district which saw 154 monasteries destroyed.  

Ishwor Chandra Marahatta, chief of the Central Project Implementation Unit of MoFALD, admitted that there were some problems regarding reconstruction of the monasteries. 

“But only a month ago, the Nepal Reconstruction Authority (NRA) unveiled an action plan and working guidelines for the reconstruction of the damaged monasteries. Assessment work will start from next month,” said Marahatta. The NRA has scrapped the assessment done by the BPPMDC, saying that the number of damaged monasteries is yet to be verified and that the cost estimated for their reconstruction is extremely high. 

The NRA has allocated Rs1 billion, scrapping BPPMDC’s estimated of Rs 8 billion.  

Meanwhile, MoFALD has decided to authorise the Department of Archaeology to rebuild 225 monasteries, as they are over a hundred years old. 

Published: 13-07-2017 07:42

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