GORKHA, April 27: As April 25, 2016, marked two years of the deadly Gorkha earthquake, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari reached Barpak, the epicenter, to lay the foundation stone for an earthquake memorial park. As per the plan, 28 quake-damaged houses of a dalit community would be conserved in the park along with the debris. The whole intention was to allow tourists to observe and revisit the situation of earthquake. But that has not been possible till now due to the differences in opinion of locals.
Urban Development and Building Construction Department's Division Office, Gorkha, had announced to provide those Dalit families with compensation and land elsewhere. Though 24 victim families agreed with the terms, four families declined the agreement. The difference in opinion is because of their political ideologies. This eventually led the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) to withdraw its decision to construct a park at that particular place. "Even the land which falls under the park is at risk and the landowners too are not providing their land," said Roshan Shrestha, Chief of Building Division Office (BDO), Gorkha, adding," So, there won't be an earthquake memorial park."
The area where the park was to be created is fenced and a wall has been created for the construction of inner infrastructures. Construction of the park would have been an advantage for the locals of Barpak. Chief of BDO Shrestha informed that the park will instead be constructed at some other place. The estimated cost of the park is around Rs. 140 million.
The park will be constructed in a plot of two ropanis. All the remnants of the earthquake will be kept inside the park. It will have all kinds of infrastructures such as a ticket counter, roads, waiting rooms, guard house, and a play ground for children among others. The time to time obstructions posed by the locals, geographical difficulties, poor condition of road among others have made it challenging for the construction company to build the park.
Caption: The under-construction earthquake memorial park in Barpak.