Rebuilding campaign set to kick-start todayAlmost nine months after the devastating earthquake and amid criticism for the delay, post-earthquake reconstruction will formally begin on Saturday, with the President laying foundation stone of a heritage site and the prime minister unveiling a construction design for a resident settlement in Lalitpur.
Almost nine months after the devastating earthquake and amid criticism for the delay, post-earthquake reconstruction will formally begin on Saturday, with the President laying foundation stone of a heritage site and the prime minister unveiling a construction design for a resident settlement in Lalitpur.
Saturday’s formal start of post-quake reconstruction coincides with National Earthquake Safety Day, a day that Nepal marks every year as a reminder of the 1934 earthquake that killed around 8,000 people.
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), the central body responsible for reconstruction of quake-destroyed houses and infrastructure, said Saturday’s event would mark the symbolic start to reinforce government’s commitment to rebuild.
President Bidhya Devi Bhandari is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of a temple destroyed on the premises of Ranipokhari in Kathmandu at 11:56am, the time when the earthquake struck the country on April 25, killing nearly 9,000 people and affecting one third of the 28 million Nepalis.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will unveil a design for a Bungamati settlement in Lalitpur at 2:24pm on Saturday. The time has been chosen to mark the anniversary of the 1934 quake.
Bungamati, located about 10 kilometres south of Kathmandu, is one of the 52 traditional settlements in Kathmandu Valley.
The seventh century settlement of 6,000 people was destroyed in the April 25 earthquake. Out of 1,351 houses in the town, 851 were destroyed and 315 were partially damaged.
According to the NRA, Karyabinayak Municipality will rebuild Bungamati and the Department of Archaeology and Kathmandu Municipality will reconstruct Ranipokhari area.
Before announcing the reconstruction campaign, NRA Chief Executive Officer Sushil Gyewali had inspected both the sites. The reconstruction of quake-destroyed houses and infrastructure was delayed for months, largely due to a wrangling among major parties over who should be appointed the chief of the construction body.
The actual reconstruction process, however, will begin on April 24, on the eve of the first anniversary of the April earthquake, once the authority receives a detailed damage assessment report. The authority is deploying over 1,500 engineers to all quake-affected districts to take detailed surveys.
The government has already allocated Rs 74 billion for reconstruction, and international donors have pledged more than $4 billion for Nepal’s rebuilding efforts. According to the authority,
it is in a position to mobilise more than $200 million at the moment for starting reconstruction.