Nepal government has set up a three-year deadline to rebuild the country devastated by the April 25 earthquake and its several aftershocks.
“The government of Nepal plans to restore the nation in the next three years. This may sound a bit ambitious, but Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has set three years to restore and rebuild the country,” Consul General of Nepal in Kolkata, Chandra Kumar Ghimire told mediapersons on Thursday.
“As far as heritage sites are concerned, which are the most delicate part of our restoration process, it may take another seven to eight years to restore all of them to their original form,” he added. Ghimire was speaking on the “Status of Nepal after Earthquake” organised by the MCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which has contributed Rs 31 lakh as support for relief and rehabilitation in Nepal.
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“There is a plan, which our authorities and technical teams are working on. We are lucky, in this endeavour Nepal is not alone. The entire world wants to see the revival of these properties. Some important archives in different parts of the world, mainly in Western countries, have assured of help with technical details of the designs. If those are available, I think we will be able to revive the heritage buildings,” Ghimire said.
Describing April 25 as a “Black Day” in the history of Nepal, the envoy said: “We have lost around 35 per cent of our GDP. A huge task is before us as are supposed to provide shelter to all affected families, which must be at least roofed with corrugated sheets.”
Maintaining that the need of the hour was corrugated galvanised iron sheets, Ghimire added: “While we were in dire need of tarpaulin sheets soon after the earthquake struck, we now need corrugated sheets as the government is trying to build shelters for the homeless… We will provide them with low cost earthquake-proof houses.”
Ghimire also thanked the West Bengal government for extending its helping hand to Nepal. The state has contributed 1.7 lakh tarpaulin sheets, he added. “Public utility systems such as highways, power supply and telecommunication must be built. To manage the post disaster plan, our planners have suggested we will require $ 5 to 10 billion for the total reconstruction and restoration,” Ghimire said.
The Nepal government will come out with its first post-earthquake assessment report on June 10. “It will be a kind of complete picture to the entire world and we will also hold a donor meeting where we will request international communities how to, and to what extent and to what modality, Nepal needs their support,” said the envoy.
Thanking India for being the “first country to respond after the first quake ravaged Nepal,” Ghimire said: “With the kind of support extended by India, I feel a bit emotional. It’s a bit personal observation. We used to say we have a government-to-government relationship, we used to say we have business-to-business relationship, but this is for the first time in our history we feel we have a heart-to-heart relationship with India. When we were crying there, you also were crying here. So, this has further consolidated our relationship.” (With PTI Inputs)