BHAKTAPUR: German Development Bank (KfW) has withdrawn from heritages reconstruction task.
The Bank withdrew from the commitment to provide support in reconstruction of heritages in Bhaktapur district damaged in Gorkha earthquake, as understanding was not reached between the municipality and donor agency regarding the process for the heritage reconstruction task.
There was a dispute over the issue whether the heritage reconstruction would be carried out through local users committee or by calling international tender.
The Bhaktapur Municipality is of the opinion that the reconstruction of heritages should be carried out through local users committee by utilising local skill and knowledge.
On the other hand, the Bank had put forth its view that the reconstruction task should be carried out through international tender.
Visiting Mayor of Bhaktapur Municipality Sunil Prajapati and German Ambassador to Nepal Roland Schaefer said that the financial support provided through KfW has been stopped for the time being. “There would be continuous support of the German government for the development and heritage protection of Bhaktapur through other appropriate ways.”
He clarified that they would not go against the public sentiments while praising the devotion of people of Bhaktapur in heritage conservation.
Stating that Bhaktapur and Germany have cordial relations at the people’s level itself, Ambassador Schaefer said that Germany was ready to extend support in the interest of Bhaktapur any time.
He said an international level discussion on the local knowledge and technology in heritage preservation would be held in the future. He further hoped that the Government of Germany would get an opportunity to extend cooperation on the matter.
Mayor Prajapati said that Bhaktapur Municipality has been carrying out heritage conservation and development works through the consumer committees with direct participation of local people.
He opined that carrying out heritage preservation works through the consumer committees ensured local people’s ownership over the structures, where the local people contribute voluntary labour, the quality of construction works is better at lower cost and the structures are stronger.
Stating that many heritage structures like the Five-Storey Temple, the 55-Window Palace, the Bhairavnath Temple that were constructed using local skills, technology and local construction materials have been intact even for hundreds of years, Mayor Prajapati further informed that the municipality has been teaching the technology of constructing strong and earthquake-resistant structures using local skills and knowledge to the new generation, running an engineering college by itself.
Mayor Suwal thanked the people and government of Germany for their support to Bhaktapur locals in the aftermath of the 2015 Gorkha earthquake.
He reiterated that it was the municipality’s responsibility to protect the ancient heritage sites of Bhaktapur as they are enlisted in World Heritage Sites.
Deputy Mayor Rajani Joshi, Bhaktapur Municipality-9 Chairman Rabindra Jyakhwa, Municipality-7 Chairman Ukesh Kanwa, Tourism Officer Damodar Suwal, German Development Cooperation Chief Claudia Hipe, Shankar Pandey and Tika Dhakal were also present on the occasion.