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Nearly 300 quake-ravaged schools rebuilt in Gorkha


Gorkha: Two-hundred and ninety earthquake-ravaged school buildings in Gorkha district have been reconstructed so far.

The devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015 had destroyed 513 school buildings in the district. Bishnu Prasad Mishra, an official at the District Project Implementation Unit of the National Reconstruction Authority, said that 211 quake-hit school buildings are under construction.

According to Mishra, they plan to complete the construction of all school buildings within the next 20 months. The reconstruction works in the district are financed by the government, Indian embassy, donor agencies and various NGOs and INGOs.

The Indian embassy has also started the construction of four school buildings in the district.

“Five other schools are being surveyed for reconstruction,” said Suraj Shrestha, a technician of the unit.

Meanwhile, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has handed over 21 school buildings after their construction. The JICA had taken responsibility to construct 61 schools in the district. The remaining school buildings are being constructed, said Shrestha.

Similarly, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had taken responsibility to construct four school buildings. The detailed project reports of those buildings have already been completed, Shrestha said.

However, the construction of school buildings in remote areas has not gained momentum due to geographical remoteness and a lack of construction materials and skilled manpower. Students, whose school buildings are under construction, have been studying in makeshift classes for the past four years.

The students say they have to face scorching heat during summer and severe cold during winter because they do not have a proper classroom.

Bhojraj Koirala, headmaster of Sansari Mahendra Secondary School in Nayasanghu, said that students are facing difficulties to study, as it gets unbearably hot inside the galvanized zinc sheets.

“We have started to search for shades to conduct classes these days,” Koirala said.

Rudra Uprety, headmaster of Madanedanda Secondary School in Dhuwakot, shared a similar ordeal.

“The rise in temperature has made studying difficult for students as well as teachers. We urge the concerned authority to complete the construction of the building as soon as possible,” said Uprety.

Records at the Ministry of Education show that more than 17,000 classrooms of around 8,000 public schools in 31 districts were destroyed in the April 25 earthquake; around 7,500 classrooms were left with huge cracks on their walls and ceilings; and over 12,000 classrooms underwent minor damage.

By Hariram Uprety in The Kathmandu Post - June 18, 2019

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