Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sept quake damage bill Rs 5 billion


KATHMANDU: Property worth Rs 5 billion was damaged by the September 18 quake, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works said today.

The ministry, which has finished assessing the extent of the damage caused by the temblor, said it will need Rs 1.8 billion to carry out reconstruction work.

Property, including public and private buildings, was damaged mainly in the Eastern Development Region of the country by the 6.9 magnitude temblor, which claimed seven lives.

The government has already distributed immediate relief packages. “We have begun reconstructing public and private buildings,” said Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary at the ministry. “Reconstruction will be completed within two years,” he added. “A panel working on reconstruction met for the first time on Thursday.”

The ministry has decided to demand Rs 1.8 billion from the Ministry of Finance for reconstruction work. “Around Rs 800 million will be necessary to reconstruct government buildings, mainly schools. An additional Rs 1 billion will be disbursed as soft loan or as grant to reconstruct private property,” he said. “Modalities for grants and soft loans are yet to be finalised.”

The government is considering a proposal to spend Rs 150 million to run an awareness campaign for construction workers, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works said.

“They will be taught how to build quake-resistant buildings and what to do during quakes,” said Sitaula. “As soon as the Ministry of Finance allocates budget, reconstruction work will begin.”

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