National reconstruction campaign kicks off with commitment

(Hari Lamichhane)

Kathmandu, Jan 16: The government has begun the nationwide reconstruction and rebuilding of the infrastructures damaged in the April 25 earthquake.
Almost nine months after the disaster jolted central Nepal, President Bidya Devi Bhandari inaugurated the reconstruction and rebuilding work by laying the foundation stone for reconstruction of the famous Rani Pokhari at Ratna Park today.
The government decided to kick start the reconstruction process through the recently established National Reconstruction Authority coinciding with the 19th National Earthquake Safety Day. The Day is observed every year on Magh 2 in the Nepali lunar calendar in commemoration of the 1934 earthquake.
At the special event held to initiate the reconstruction campaign at Shanti Batika in the Rani Pokhari premises, Vice-President Nanda Bahadur Pun, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, leader of main opposition party Sushil Koirala, High-level political coordination mechanism Coordinator Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, heads of constitutional bodies, Chief Secretary, the Chief of the Army Staff and heads of diplomatic missions in Kathmandu were present.
Speaking at the function, Prime Minister Oli said all political parties, government and non-government bodies should work together in this mega campaign of reconstruction. “This campaign begins with a commitment from all political parties and organisations to work together for it, and this a matter of great happiness”, he said.
He also directed the authorities concerned to take note of the commitments from the political parties and expedite the reconstruction campaign.
Pledging to sort out challenges (if any) in the course of the reconstruction, he urged all Nepali people, international community, media and other sector to help with the mega campaign. PM Oli pledged to ensure that no one would take undue benefit in the name of the reconstruction. “It will be intolerable for the government if anyone takes undue advantage from the campaign,” he warned.

He also urged international donor agencies and various political party leaders to be assured that the campaign would be transparent.

Likewise, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Management Bijaya Kumar Gachchadar said that all political parties should move ahead united to make the campaign a success. “I want to request the international community and political parties to extend their helping hand in the campaign in all quake-hit districts across the nation and for its effectiveness,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Kamal Thapa said country’s tropical position is vulnerable to earthquake risk and the government focus will be on building the earthquake-resistant houses. The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development has already reached to the people of local level with the disaster risk mitigation programmes.

He said the government and his party Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal was solely dedicated to making the post earthquake-reconstruction campaign successful.

Similarly, main opposition leader and former Prime Minister Sushil Koirala insisted on operating the Campaign in a transparent way and with a full sense of responsibility. Koirala said he was hopeful that the government would be able to address the problems pertaining to the Tarai without causing hampering the interests of the nation and national integrity. “The Congress is always with the government in its good efforts,” the party President said, pledging maximum support on his behalf and the party to the post-disaster reconstruction mega campaign.

Former Prime Minister Dahal said unity among all the political parties and support from the international community was vital to complete the reconstruction campaign successfully. He emphasised on full transparency and honesty in the implementation of the campaign to evade any untoward cases of irregularities in its operation.

The 19th Earthquake Safety Day-2072 Main Celebration Committee coordinator and Home Minister Shakti Basnet said the reconstruction campaign will be operated as means of attaining economic prosperity.

National Reconstruction Authority Chief Executive Officer Sushil Gyawali pledged to leave no stone unturned to make the campaign meaningful and relieve the sufferings of the people affected by the disaster.

United Nation Resident Coordinator Renaud Meyer said it was a matter of happiness that Nepal has entered into the implementation phase of the post-earthquake reconstruction initiative, vowing UN’s continuous support to run the campaign successfully.