NRA's role zero: DoA DG Dahal
KATHMANDU, Nov 17: The Department of Archaeology (DoA) has blamed the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) for the snail-pace progress in the reconstruction and renovation of historical monuments that were ravaged by earthquake last year.
Talking to Republica, Director General of DoA Bhesh Narayan Dahal said that had the department been given the chance to work independently, a lot of work related to the reconstruction and renovation of historical monuments would have already been done by now.
"Firstly, we have to seek NRA's approval for all kinds of reconstruction related work and the authority is very slow in responding to our requests and proposals. As a result, we have not been able to give momentum to the work," he said,
He said that the department had sent proposals for the reconstruction of 145 wrecked monuments to the NRA for its approval. "But the authority approved the reconstruction of only 132 monuments, and that too only in October," he added.
Officials at DoA said that had the NRA approved the reconstruction proposals at the beginning of the current fiscal year, the department would have already completed all the bidding processes by October and even started the reconstruction work on many of the damaged historical monuments.
Director General Dahal also said that delay on the part of the NRA in releasing the budget also hampered the heritage sites reconstruction. "NRA released the budget so late. And it released only one-third of the total budget sought by us. So, tell me how we are going to expedite things," he added.
The department had sought Rs 2.3 billion for the reconstruction of 145 wrecked monuments but the NRA released only Rs 750 million.
"NRA's role in heritage reconstruction is zero so far. Neither does the authority have the heritage experts nor has it facilitated the efforts of the department. So, there is a kind of tension," he further said.
He said the department would have greatly expedited the heritage reconstruction by now if the government had provided the budget to the department directly as it used to previously.
As of now, the department is carrying out reconstruction and renovation at over 60 historical monuments out of the total of 132 monuments approved by the NRA in various parts of the country.
The government has set a target of completing the reconstruction work on all the affected heritage sites by 2020. DoA records show that 133 monuments were completely damaged by earthquakes while around 600 were partially damaged.
DoA officials say that the department cannot rebuild the damaged monuments in the stipulated time if the NRA does not cooperate and allocate an adequate budget.