The Great Himalaya Trail Development Programme (GHTDP) said it will support the repair and re-construction of trails and bridges destroyed by the earthquake in the worst affected areas of Taplejung.
Issuing a press release on Monday, GHTDP said it will channel the funds approved by the Department For International Development (DFID) directly to Kanchenjunga Community Area Management Council (KCAMC), which will mobilise local communities to participate in the re-construction.
Helvetas Nepal will provide technical support and quality control, with Taplejung DDC monitoring to ensure efficiency and transparency. The repaired infrastructure will directly benefit both local communities and tourism.
On 18 September 2011 a large earthquake, measuring 6.9 on the Richer Scale hit the region comprising Nepal’s north eastern border with India. The earthquake was felt across Nepal. The district of Taplejung – and the Kanchenjunga Community Conservation Area in particular – was worse affected, with substantial damage caused to essential infrastructure including trails, bridges and school buildings.
Taplejung district is one of the five districts targeted for support during the first phase of the Great Himalaya Trail Development Programme. Following the earthquake, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, which manages the programme under the leadership of the Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation (MoTCA), organized a scoping visit to assess the extent of the damage and its impact on the lives of both local people and tourism.
“The main trails have suffered serious damage as a result of the earthquake. In addition, multiple landslides have occurred making a number of sections extremely risky to pass. These trails are not only vital for tourism, they are also essential thoroughfares for local people who depend on them for travelling to neighbouring villages, bringing in food and essential supplies, and transporting their products to market”, said team member Mr Khagendra Limbu, Chairperson of KCAMC.
Responding to the assessment report submitted by the multi-agency team, and to the needs of host communities along the Great Himalaya Trail in Taplejung, DFID, which funds the GHTDP, has approved additional funds to support repair and re-construction of trails and bridges in the worst affected areas of Taplejung. The GHTDP will channel these funds directly to KCAMC, which will mobilize local communities to participate in the re-construction. Helvetas Nepal will provide technical support and quality control, with Taplejung DDC monitoring to ensure efficiency and transparency.
“Through the GHT Development Programme government, industry and civil society are working together to help spread the benefits of tourism beyond Nepal’s established trekking destinations, creating jobs, income and business opportunities for host communities”, said Paul Stevens, Chief Technical Advisor for the GHT Development Programme. “We are very pleased that – with the generous support of DFID and as a result of excellent cooperation between development partners and stakeholders – the programme has also been able to respond decisively to the immediate needs of host communities following this natural disaster”.
Re-construction work in Taplejung will officially commence 2nd week of March 2012, according to GHTDP. nepalnews.com