August 19, 2016 06:59 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Aug 18: The reconstruction of heritage monuments devastated by the deadly quake of 2015 inside the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) is unlikely to be completed within five years if the present trend of budget allocation continues.
According to the PADT, some Rs 2 billion is required to reconstruct the heritage properties belonging to the Pashupatinath Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) allocated only Rs 70 million for the last fiscal year.
“We feel the heritage site reconstruction is being neglected,” said Dr Govinda Tandan, member secretary at the PADT. “If this trend continues, the government’s plan to complete the reconstruction within five years will fall apart,” he added. “Heritage reconstruction is not in government’s priority. If this trend continues, it will take at least 15 years to reconstruct the damaged temples.”
Famous Bishwarupa Temple, Bhuwaneshwari Temple, Jaya Bageshwari, Jitjung Prakasheshwar, Tara Prakasheshwar and Guheshwari Temple were badly damaged by the earthquake. According to the PADT’s own estimate soon after the earthquake, the heritage sites in the area suffered a loss of more than Rs 1.5 billion in the devastating earthquake.
The government allocated a total of Rs 350 million for the regular development work of the heritage sites in the last fiscal year. This program includes general renovation of the heritage monuments, office management costs, improvements of the master plan projects and so on.
“The government has allocated Rs 360 million for the regular development and operation of the site in the current fiscal year,” said Tandan. “The NRA is yet to divulge details of the reconstruction budget for the running fiscal year.”