Citizen Journalism Project (CJP)
Nepal, July 25
Over 500 Buddhis monks from 25 districts of Nepal marched on street of Lalitpur on Tuesday to protest the slow pace of post earthquake reconstruction of monasteries.
More than 90 percent of nearly 1,000 Buddhist monasteries and temples destroyed during April 2015 Nepal earthquake still await reconstruction.
The earthquake had killed over 9,000 people and displaced tens of thousands of families.
“ We cannot stay silent anymore. We were forced to come out to the street,” said Furi Sherpa lama, 49, from Solokhambu district. The district is the most affected district which saw 154 monasteries destroyed.
Monks from 14 most quake effected districts including other 11 districts had formed a struggle committee on July 13 organizing a press conference in Kathmandu to mount pressure on the government to expedite reconstruction works.
Hundreds of Hindu and Buddhist temples were destroyed during the earthquake.During the protest monks also asked for the resignation of executive director and chairperson of Committee Narendra Kumar Gurung and Khempo Karma Chhiring Tasi Lama for their inability to work for rebuilding the monasteries.
Official figures show that the earthquake had fully or partially destroyed 993 monasteries mostly in central Nepal. There are around 5,000 Buddhist monasteries in Nepal.
Sano Babu Lama, coordinator of the struggle committee, said they will further intensify the protest. “We won’t stop our protest unless our concerns are addressed,” said Lama, a monk himself. Lama said that they are not happy with the amount of budget allocated to reconstruction of monasteries.
Due to budget crunch, Nepal government reduced the budget allocated for reconstruction of monasteries from Rs 8 billion to Rs 1 billion.