Sushma Swaraj leaves for Nepal to attend donors' conclave

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New Delhi, June 24: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday embarked on a two-day visit to Nepal to attend an international donors' conclave where she is likely to announce a major financial package by India for reconstruction of the quake-hit Himalayan nation.

The International Conference on Nepal's Reconstruction (ICNR) has been organised by the Nepalese government to raise funds for carrying out rebuilding of areas devastated by the massive earthquake of April 25 which claimed over 8,000 lives.

Sushma Swaraj leaves for Nepal

Nepal's Prime Minister Sushil Koirala had earlier this month called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi to invite him for the conclave. However, Modi decided to nominate Swaraj for ICNR.

At least 35 countries are expected to attend the conference to be held in Kathmandu tomorrow. Ahead of the meet, the Nepalese Prime Minister said there has been a "big gap" between what Nepal was able to do and what needs to be done.

He said Nepal's resources alone are not enough to meet the "unforeseen and pressing challenges" and called upon international community to help the country.

Nepal's Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said there was an urgent need to upscale investment in the infrastructure sector. "There are some immediate and long-term priorities from the perspective of reconstruction. We need to ensure that the rubbles of the collapsed buildings are removed in an environmentally friendly way.

"Building transitional shelters for people is also a pressing priority. We will need to explore options for low- cost housing, reinstate bridges, roads, schools and health posts.

For this, there is an urgent need to upscale investment in the infrastructure sector," he said.

PTI

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