Govt may have to buy or hire demolition machines

KATHMANDU: The government has not received any concrete response from India, China, Japan and the USA regarding its request, made some three weeks ago, to provide essential equipment to demolish damaged high-rise buildings and structures.

Tara Prasad Pokhrel, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirmed that no solid response has been received from any of these four countries so far. “We are constantly in touch with our neighbouring and friendly countries. It has been three weeks since we requested for demolition equipment. However, we have yet to get any concrete response from them,” Pokhrel added.

Upon the correspondence of the Ministry of Home Affairs, MoFA had requested in writing to these countries to provide essential equipment, if they have, to help the government of Nepal carry out controlled demolition of tall buildings.

Earlier, Joint Secretary Rameshowr Dangal, who heads the Disaster Management Division of MoHA, had told THT that the government lacked equipment to demolish buildings and structures taller than three storeys.

Official estimation is that over 2,000 houses, including a few high-rise apartments, are in dire need of controlled demolition, as these structures pose serious threats to neighbours and passers-by.

It is learnt that some countries, including India, have responded saying that they do not have such equipment and that private companies there have the required equipment for which Nepal has to pay if the government used them.

Security agencies, including the Nepali Army, Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force, which are leading the demolition drive, had sought necessary equipment to carry out controlled demolition of the quake-hit tall structures.

Nepali Army spokesperson Brig Gen Jagadish Chandra Pokhrel told The Himalayan Times that the national force was carrying out demolition works with its own modest equipment.

Officials privy to the matter have said that following the lukewarm response from all four countries, the government is now mulling over three options — buying such equipment on its own or hiring the equipment or both.