South Korea has agreed to support reconstruction of old settlements within Kathmandu Valley. These settlements, namely Khokana, Bungamati, all lying outside the main city area of the valley, were largely neglected in the nation’s reconstruction effort.
To the relief of many, National Reconstruction Authority, a national body entrusted with the reconstruction work following the 2015 earthquake, said the South Korean Government is willing to help Nepal – to help the cities restore its traditional grandeur. The South Korean government will also help Nepal build ‘smart cities’ adjacent to the settlements, as per the NRA.
A memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed by NRA, Kathmandu Valley Development Authority and Seoul Housing and Community Corporation for re-construction and development of smart cities. The signing was held in Korea’s capital city Seoul.
Khokana, Bungamati, and Sankhu are ancient Newar settlements – an important constituent of the cultural heritage of the valley. The settlements were hugely affected by the 2015 earthquake – many traditional houses, temples, and cultural artifacts took extensive damage. Lack of resources (capital and human) within the NRA prevented timely reconstruction of the area – something expected to change soon.
What are ‘smart cities’?
‘Smart cities’, an ambitious plan by Kathmandu Valley Development Authority was devised to address the issue of haphazard urbanisation due to mass-migration into Kathmandu valley. The Authority allocated 130,000 ropanis of land for the same purpose – east, west, south and north of the main city area.
Smart cities are planned cities which will be equipped with smart energy, effective governance, technology advanced, healthcare, water, education, waste management, sustainable buildings, well-managed transportation, and all those things Kathmandu basically we basically complain about.