By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury (The Econimic Times, New Delhi, 9 Jun) –
NEW DELHI: Nepal has rejected India’s offer to host a global donors’ conference to generate funds for rebuilding parts of the country in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in April. India will, however, figure prominently among the donors at the meet to be hosted by Nepal government in Kathmandu on June 25.
The Narendra Modi government, given its commitment to expanding relations with Nepal and providing vast relief in the aftermath of the tragedy, had informed the Sushil Koirala government of its desire to host the conference. However, Nepal turned down the offer and decided to go ahead with hosting the meet exactly two months after the devastation to showcase the Himalayan state’s capability of organising a big show that could also boost its tourism industry, senior government officials told ET.
Nepal government officials said the country had turned down offers from other economically developed countries as well to host donors’ conference. Tourism, mainstay of Nepalese economy, was badly hit from the quake that killed over 10,000 people.
The Koirala government is keen to boost the industry through showcasing big shows to attract tourists from across the world. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has issued a fresh appeal for nearly 2.8 million Nepalis who need humanitarian assistance. OCHA sought $422 million for food, temporary shelter, medical care and drinking water in 14 districts for the first five months. So far $119.6 million has come in from international donors. The Nepal government estimates that it will need $5-8 billion over the next five years for relief and rehabilitation programmes. A separate reconstruction fund, to be handled directly by a committee headed by the prime minister, has been formed. Nepal has initially deposited $200 million in the reconstruction fund.
India, officials said, respected Nepal’s decision to host the big meet and may extend strong support at the conference for reconstruction of Nepal. The quantum of India’s support is yet to be decided, though. It will depend on the expected post-disaster needs assessment or PDNA report by June 15, they said.