Kathmandu, October 7
The Ministry of Education is set to begin reconstruction of 307 schools in 14 districts most affected by last year’s earthquakes within this fiscal.
The school reconstruction drive began on October 3 after Education Minister Dhaniram Poudel laid the foundation stone of Kavre-based Kali Devi Primary School, which had collapsed in the April 25 earthquake.
Although several international non-government organisations, particularly Asian Development Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency, had pledged support to the government for reconstruction of schools, the actual reconstruction process was delayed by 17 months owing to bureaucratic hurdles.
Chief of the Project Implementation Unit under the Ministry of Education Ima Narayan Shrestha said today that reconstruction of 307 schools would begin within the current fiscal, and the schools would be ready to be handed over within the next 15 months.
Shrestha stated that PIU would announce tender for reconstruction of 450 schools within this fiscal. “We have sought Rs 5 billion from the National Reconstruction Authority for reconstruction of schools,” he said, adding, “The Directive Committee of the NRA has decided to releasethe budget, while the reconstruction procedure has yet to be finalised.”
Shrestha informed that as soon as the PIU gets the budget and the procedure is approved, the reconstruction work would gain momentum. “We are all set to build 1,100 schools with the allocated budget,” he said.
Several NGOs/ INGOs have also expressed their desire to reconstruct school buildings, and the PIU has authorised more than 150 NGOs to do so. The NGOs have already finished reconstruction of 500 schools in 31 districts.
“The fate of the 4,300 damaged schools in 31 districts is still uncertain because of lack of funds,” Shrestha said, adding, “We are trying to manage funds for the reconstruction of these schools.”
Last year’s devastating earthquakes had damaged 9,353 schools in 59 districts across the country.
A version of this article appears in print on October 08, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.