GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS: Poor Quality

With the damage of Nepal’s main government ministries, the question of who controls the quality has come to the fore

May 22, 2015, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 08 No. -22 May 22- 2015 (Jestha 08, 2072)

The earthquake of April 25 and May 12 not only ruined heritage sites, temples and other houses of common people, they also destroyedthe buildings of the country’s major ministries, sending them to work from the open grounds.

Along with the prime minister’s office, the earthquake also damaged the Supreme Court. The damage of National Planning Commission was pathetic. The ministry which is supposed to make plans for earthquake resistant buildings has cracked in the quake.

After the crack of Singh Durbar, Ministry of Defense is outsideits building. Not only Ministry of Defense, Nepal Army headquarters was also badly damaged by the earthquake. Similarly, there are cracks in the newly built Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a portion of Ministry of Finance.

Many other buildings also developed cracks thanks to the earthquake. The buildingsof Ministry of Labor and Employment and Ministry of Youth and Sports also saw cracks. The government hospitals, including Bir Hospital, have also been damaged by the quake.

Auditor General’s office and Attorney General’s office also gotthe red sticker as these buildings are regarded as unfit to house offices.

According to Ministry of Home Affairs, over 20,000 government buildings were damaged by the earthquake throughout the country. The buildings include school building, health post, police station and others.

In a meeting chaired by chief Secretary Leelamani Paudyal issued an direction to take necessary actions against those who involve in the construction of the new governments. Chief Secretary Paudyal reportedly asked his secretaries to prepare the list of officials, technicians and contractors involve in the construction.

At a time the government is talking about the need to make buildings quake resistant, these stories reveal the government’s own weaknesses. “If Planning Commission cannot save its own building, how can it plan for quake-resistant buildings for others,” asked an engineer.

This earthquake also exposed the weak monitoring and low investment in the maintenance of the government buildings raising questions about its competence tomake others follow the rule.

As the old palaces built by Ranas stood for over 100 years, let’s build the new buildingswith over 500 years of life or to resist the quake up to 9 Richter scale.

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