Inside the wrecked building of the Tribhuvan University Central Library, a group of youths were busy gathering things on Wednesday, helping the staff and security personnel salvage books from the rubble. Others arranged them in a safer building nearby.
Surprising for some, they were the cadres of student unions, often defamed for wasting time on political wrangling, this time working for a cause.
Vice-chancellor Hira Bahadur Maharjan and other top officials of the country’s oldest varsity watched the act. The TU had called on its students, alumni and other well-wishers to chip in financially or physically.
Badly hit by the April 25 earthquake, the TU is now trying to rebuild on its own, instead of relying on the government. After assessing that renovation and reconstruction could take years if it were to depend on the government or donors, the TU executive board last week decided to initiate efforts on its own. It has set up the “TU Reconstruction Fund” to which anyone can deposit their assistance.
The quake has devastated the university’s administrative and academic buildings, including two research centres in Kirtipur.
According to VC Maharjan, Rs150 million has been deposited to the fund so far from internal sources while an equal amount will be added within a week from staff donations. On Saturday, the TU organised a gathering of well-wishers and alumni where it received assurance of help in its endeavour.
Officials including the VC, the rector, registrars, deans and chiefs of various departments have donated one month’s salary to the fund. Similarly, lecturers and the administrative staff have agreed to contribute 10 days’ pay while those of the assistant level or below will contribute five days’ income.
A total of 15,228 staffers are currently employed in the TU either permanently or on contract basis. “We want to show that we are capable of generating resources on our own,” said Maharjan.
With the Rs300 million potential collection within a week, the executive board plans to start renovation of classrooms wherever possible. “In colleges where the buildings cannot be brought into use immediately, temporary learning centres will be constructed,” said Bhola Dhakal, chief at the Department of General Administration, adding that classrooms are the first priority.
The TU has sought assistance from its alumni holding well-paid jobs at home and abroad. The Association of Private Education Institutions Nepal has pledged its support too.
If the resource generated internally is not enough for reconstruction, the varsity counts on the support of universities abroad that collaborate with it in different fields. The TU has established relations with 140 universities across the world.
Source: The Kathmandu Post