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Nepal imposes temporary ban on all new constructions

FILE - In this Thursday, May 14, 2015, file photo, a Nepalese man carrying a water jar walks past damaged houses in Bhaktapur, Nepal. Just as Nepalis were striving to get back on their feet after last months massive earthquake, the country was shaken by another, weaker quake that killed more than 110 people on May 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Bikram Rai, File)   | Photo Credit: Bikram Rai

Government of Nepal on Monday said it was imposing a temporary ban on all constructions of houses and buildings, including those which are already under construction or whose maps have been approved for construction before the recent earthquake.



The ban would remain in effect until the end of Nepali month of Asad, July 16, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Local Development. Those structures that were built by violating the existing building codes and those weakened by the recent earthquake and its aftershocks should be immediately demolished, the Ministry instructed.



The government would also review the existing building codes and make necessary changes to them. Until then, its decision taken on Monday would remain in force.



Among the major decisions are to limit the under-construction buildings and houses to just two floors, including the ground floor. The promoters who sell plots of land for housing and commercial purposes would have to ensure pen spaces in their plans. The provisions call for soil testing to determine what kind of structures could be built over the area.



However, the new instruction would not come in the way of building temporary shelters for those who lost their houses in the quake and aftershocks for a certain period of time. These temporary shelters or pre-fabricated houses would also have to adhere to existing building codes regarding being earthquake-resistant as well as be environmental-friendly.



Henceforth, as per the Ministry’s orders, permission would be granted to only those abide by building codes and their adherence would be monitored. The Ministry said it is also preparing a list of government employees and technical staff who approved structures that violated the existing codes to take action against them.



The Ministry of Local Development issued a letter to this effect to all the 75 district administrations, municipalities and district development committees.



The government’s move comes in the wake of damage and destruction of houses in the affected districts due to the earthquake of April 25 and its aftershocks, the most devastating of them coming on May 12. Tall buildings with weak foundations, old houses, and houses that did not strictly follow the building codes collapsed, officials concluded.



More than 8600 people were killed and over 21,000 injured in the tremors, police said. According to government and UN estimates, over 530,000 houses were destroyed and more than 300,000 houses damaged. This also includes over 20,000 school buildings.


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