Shringla inaugurates three schools built under Indian assistance in Nepal's Gorkha district

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Kathmandu, Nov 27 (PTI) Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Friday inaugurated three schools built as part of India's USD 50 million assistance for the reconstruction of education sector in Nepal's Gorkha district, the epicentre of the 2015 earthquake.

In April 2015, a devastating earthquake of 7.8 magnitude rocked Nepal, killing nearly 9,000 people and wounding about 22,000 others.

'FS@harshvshringl inaugurated three schools in Gorkha completed under India’s reconstruction assistance: investing in people and investing in education,' the Indian embassy here tweeted.

Shringla travelled to Gorkha and inaugurated three schools constructed with Indian reconstruction assistance viz. Shree Mahalaxmi, Shree Ratnalaxmi and Shree Tara Secondary Schools, in the presence of Ram Krishna Sapkota, Secretary, National Reconstruction Authority of Nepal, the embassy later said in a statement.

There are about 1600 students in these three schools who now have the advantage of the newly constructed earthquake resilient school buildings.

These schools are part of 71 educational institutes across nine districts being built under Government of India grant assistance of USD 50 million for reconstruction in the education sector. The nine beneficiary districts are Gorkha, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchowk, Ramechhap, Dolakha, Kavrepalanchowk, Dhading and Kathmandu, it said.

The Ministry of External Affairs also tweeted a video of the school inauguration event.

Speaking on the occasion, Shringla emphasised that education was the best investment in the future of a country and its people.

Since 2003, India has built nearly 270 educational campuses across Nepal under High Impact Community Development Projects scheme, complementing the efforts of Nepal, he said.

He encouraged Nepali students to take advantage of over 3000 scholarships being provided by India to contribute in the development of their country and to further strengthen India-Nepal partnership.The foreign secretary also inaugurated a Buddhist monastery, renovated with India's assistance, in Manang district.

'FS@harshvshringla inaugurated the renovated Tashop (Tare) Gompa Monastery in the Manang district, that was done with Indian assistance and that exemplifies India-Nepal development and cultural cooperation,' the Indian embassy tweeted.

'Buddhism is an important thread that connects India and Nepal,' it added, quoting Shringla.

Foreign Secretary conveyed his pleasure at the Government of India's role in restoring this ancient monastery in the Manang district and in contributing to the preservation of the rich Buddhist heritage of this Himalayan region, theembassy said in a statement.

The restoration of Monastery was taken up as a High Impact Community Development Project under grant assistance on the request of the local Khangsar village and authorities, it said.

After completing his two-day official visit, Shringla returned to New Delhi in the late afternoon on Friday, it added.

Earlier, delivering a talk hosted by the Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs (AIDIA) -- a Kathmandu-based non-partisan foreign policy think-tank, Shringla noted that after the 2015 earthquake, India cooperated with Nepal in the restoration of 30 heritage locations, including the iconic Seto Machindranath temple in Kathmandu, the Hiranyavarna Mahavihar at Patan and the Jangam Matha at Bhaktapur.

'Our best domain specialists are at the service of the living history of Nepal. Yet, our endeavours are meant to not only preserve and celebrate the past but also build and nurture the future,' he said.

The foreign secretary said given the young population -- both in India and Nepal -- education is a crucial bridge.

'Seventy schools and 150 health facilities are coming up in 12 districts of Nepal with Indian support,' he said, adding that few projects are as satisfying as those that promote learning and the health for the well-being of our citizens.

In June, the Indian Embassy in Nepal said it will rebuild 56 higher secondary schools, replete with furniture and modern sustainable technology, in Gorkha, Nuwakot, Dhading, Dolakha, Kavrepalanchowk, Ramechhap and Sindhupalchok districts.

These schools are being rebuilt as part of the Indian government's post-earthquake reconstruction works in Nepal with a grant of around Rs 184 crore.

Apart from the reconstruction of the schools, the Indian government has also extended a helping hand in rebuilding houses damaged in the earthquake in the Himalayan nation.

'The outlay of Indian earthquake-related assistance is USD 1 billion but its true value is not in monetary terms. It lies in how it has helped communities on the ground. To cite an instance, 46,000 houses have been built in Gorkha and Nuwakot. They incorporate earthquake-resilient technologies in line with your motto of 'Build Back Better',' Shringla said at the AIDIA event. PTI SCY MRJ MRJ