July 26, 2017
Voicing against the delay in reconstruction of monasteries hit in the massive earthquake in 2015, around 500 monks gathered on streets of the capital city on Tuesday.
The gathering, which included monks from 14 quake-hit and 11 other districts, marched towards the office of the Buddhist Philosophy Promotion and Monastery Development Committee (BPPMDC).
Besides a prompt response for the reconstruction of destroyed monasteries, monks also demanded the resignation of BPPMDC Chairperson Narendra Kumar Gurung and Khempo Karma Chhiring Tasi Lama.
“People holding these crucial posts have failed to discharge their duties. It’s high time we spoke for our rights. We don’t have monasteries to pray even more than two years after the quake,” said Furi Sherpa Lama (49) from Solukhumbu, the district that witnessed the destruction of as many as 154 monasteries in the 2015 quake.
No Aid Despite the Allotted Budget
Out of 5,000 monasteries in Nepal, 993 witnessed damages in the 2015 earthquake. Even though a sum of Rs 8 billion was allotted for their reconstruction, none of the monasteries have received money, said the monks.
“We received a letter from the BPPMDC director asking us to start reconstruction. We hired masons, dug the foundation and collected all raw materials required for building the monastery. We were told that we would get Rs 5.1 million for reconstruction. But, we never received the money,” says Pema Garja Sherpa lama (73) of Okhaldhunga-5, Okhaldhunga district that witnessed a damage of 17 monasteries.
Adding to the concerns, the Nepal Reconstruction Authority (NRA), about a month ago, scrapped the decision of Rs 8 billion budget and allocated only Rs 1 billion for reconstruction, stating that ‘the BPPMDC’s estimate was too high’.
Krishna Bahadur Tamang, Coordinator of the monk’s struggle committee said they would announce further protests if the demands are left unaddressed.