Kathmandu, January 16
Nearly nine months after the devastating earthquakes of April and May, reconstruction and rehabilitation work formally began today, with the National Authority for Reconstruction launching a three-month mega campaign.
The campaign aimed at ramping up the reconstruction of earthquake ravaged structures kicked off as the country observed the 18th Nepal Earthquake Safety Day.
The mega campaign was inaugurated by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, at two separate functions.
President Bhandari laid the foundation stone for the reconstruction of historic Ranipokhari, which is located in the heart of the capital. This formally kicked off the reconstruction of Balgopal temple that is located in the centre of Ranipokhari and other structures damaged by the quakes. The structures will be rebuilt in their original form.
NAR has said it would unveil numerous reconstruction plans and projects during the campaign, including rebuilding of earthquake ravaged heritage sites, infrastructure, public properties and private houses.
Later in the day, the PM inaugurated the reconstruction drive in one of the most ancient settlements of the country — Bungamati of Karyabinayak Municipality, Lalitpur. The historic area was one of the most affected in the Valley during the quakes.
During the programme, it was announced that the Sri Lankan government will chip in with required resources for the reconstruction of Rato Machhendranath temple in Bungamati — a traditional Newari town. The famous temple, which is regarded as patron guardian of the Valley and constructed during the Lichhavi regime in the 4th century, was damaged during the quakes. The reconstruction map of Bungamati was also unveiled during the ceremony.
The government has targeted to accomplish reconstruction work within three to five years — private structures within three years and public structures in five years. NAR is preparing to launch the five-year reconstruction plan by April 25.
The fiscal budget of 2015-16 has allocated Rs 74 billion to be spent through NAR. Moreover, Rs 17 billion had been allocated for reconstruction and rehabilitation work through line ministries.
A version of this article appears in print on January 17, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.