Monks take to streets to protest against delayOver 500 monks on Tuesday marched on the Capital streets to protest the delay in reconstruction monasteries destroyed by the 2015 earthquake.
Over 500 monks on Tuesday marched on the Capital streets to protest the delay in reconstruction monasteries destroyed by the 2015 earthquake.
Monks from 14 districts most affected by the quake as well as other 11 districts started the march from Jawalakhel before assembling at Minbhawan where the office of the Buddhist Philosophy Promotion and Monastery Development Committee (BPPMDC) under the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development is situated.
While calling for prompt response to their calls to rebuild the destroyed monasteries, the protesting monks also demanded the resignation of Narendra Kumar Gurung and Khempo Karma Chhiring Tasi Lama, executive director and chairperson respectively of the BPPMDC, saying that they failed to expedite the monastery reconstruction works.
“People holding these crucial posts have failed to discharge their duties. It’s high time we spoke for our rights,” said Furi Sherpa Lama, 49, from Solukhumbu, where as many as 154 monasteries were destroyed by the quake.
According to the BPPMDC’s report, the earthquake damaged 993 monasteries across the country.
There are around 5,000 monasteries in Nepal.
The monks had on July 13 formed a struggle committee.
“We don’t’ have monasteries to pray even more than two years after the quake,” said NR Sherpa.
Last year, the BPPMDC had written to each monastery to draw up designs in line with the original structure. Monasteries affected by the quake were divided into A to E categories depending on the damage caused to them and they were entitled to receive the reconstruction aid accordingly.
Rs 8 billion was estimated for the reconstruction of all the monasteries.
But the monks say none of the monasteries has received money to start reconstruction.
“After we received a letter from the BPPMDC director saying asking us to start reconstruction, we hired masons, dug the foundation and collected all raw materials required for building the monastery. We were told we would get Rs 5.1 million for reconstruction. But we never received the money,” said Pema Garja Sherpa lama, 73, from Okhaldhunga-5. According to the monk, Rs 400,000 was spent from the monastery’s fund.
A total of 17 monasteries were destroyed in the district.
The Nepal Reconstruction Authority (NRA) about a month ago, however, scrapped the decision of releasing Rs 8 billion estimated by the BPPMDC for monastery construction and allocated Rs 1 billion instead, much to the chagrin of the monks. The NRA had said the BPPMDC’s estimate was way too high.
Krishna Bahadur Tamang coordinator the monk’s struggle committee, said they would announce further protests if their demands are not met.