Health posts, temples, India’s grants for earthquake damaged buildings in Nepal

Leveraging its deeply rooted culture, religious, political, and economic ties with Nepal, India has kicked off several initiatives that will accelerate development projects as well as restore cultural centres such as temples.

Leveraging its deeply rooted culture, religious, political, and economic ties with Nepal, India has kicked off several initiatives that will accelerate development projects as well as restore cultural centres such as temples. India and Nepal signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) wherein India will reconstruct “Twelve health posts are located in Dhading district and 13 are located in Sindhupalchowk district” that were “damaged during the 2015 earthquake” “at a cost of NR (Nepali Rupee) 530 million.” On the same occassion, the Nepal Central Level Project Implementation Unit (CLPIU) awareded four contracts for implmentation. These 25 are the first of the 147 health sector projects being reconstructed by the India National Reconstruction Authority at a cost of USD 50 million. The others are advanced stage in the tender process. The Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) at Roorkee in India, a premier institute, will provide technical knowhow for the construction of these health facilities. The health facilities will have OPD, dispensary, medicine storerooms, ante/post-natal room, bedrooms for duty doctors/ medical staff, kitchen and disable friendly sanitation facilities. Under the Government of India funded Small Development Projects scheme, over 40 health posts/health camps have been completed in Nepal since 2003. The government of India has also gifted over 823 ambulances to governmental, non-governmental/non-profit making organisations in Nepal since 1994.
Indian and Nepali flags
On February 28, 2021, a Bhoomi Pūja (ceremonial breaking of ground) for the conservation and restoration of Seto Machindranath temple in Kathmandu. Built during the 10th Century of the Common Era, it was badly damaged in the 2015 earthquake. Visited by both Hindus and Buddhists, the deity Seto Machindranath who is considered to be one of the protectors of the Kathmandu Valley. It is the first of 28 cultural heritage conservation and restoration projects taken up with a grant assistance of NR 5800 million. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is engaged to provide technical support during the conservation and restoration work as per Nepal’s Ancient Monument Preservation Act, and Department of Archaeology’s Basic Guidelines and Manual. Three contract agreements were also signed last month for construction of dharamshala at Budhaneelkantha and conservation and development of Kumari Chhen and Kumari Niwas at a cost of NR456 million.
In his speech in Janakpur during his visit to Nepal in May 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled the era-old relationship between the two ancient countries. “We are friends since Treta Yug (since ages). King Janak and King Dashrath tied not only Janakpur and Ayodhya but India and Nepal also in the bonds of friendship and partnership. This is the bond of Ram-Sita and of Buddha and also of Mahavir. This is the bond which pulls the people of Rameshwaram to Pashupatinath. This is the bond which pulls the people of Lumbini to Bodh Gaya and this is the bond, the religious belief, and this is that affection which has brought me to Janakpur today.”
The Seto Machindranath temple in Kathmandu
Last year, India spent nearly Rs 550 crores (1 crore is 10 million) to extend the Jayanagar-Kurtha rail connectivity between India and Nepal up to Bijalpura by March 2021. The train service would cover a distance of 35 kilometres from Jayanagar in Bihar to Kurtha in Janakpur. Jayanagar is just four Kms from the India-Nepal border and houses Janakpur, the famous pilgrim centre in Nepal which is 29 Kms from Jayanagar.
India has also committed a total grant of US$ 250 million for reconstruction projects in the education, health, cultural heritage and housing sectors in Nepal. India continues to supply the ‘Made in India’ vaccines to Nepal, along with various countries, to fight the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Nepal received a gift of one million doses in January for the country’s healthcare and frontline workers. Nepal’s Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi announced that his country is planning to purchase an additional two million doses from India.
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