85pc of quake beneficiaries yet to start rebuilding houses

Kathmandu, June 12

Over two years after the devastating earthquake struck, only around 15 per cent of the eligible beneficiaries of government grant in the 14 worst-affected districts have either completed or are in the process of rebuilding their houses.

According to the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), a total of 28,019 houses have been built so far in the 14 earthquake-affected districts and 63,883 houses are under construction in compliance with the safe building code. The beneficiary survey of the NRA has listed 626,695 households as being eligible for the government grant.

NRA officials have said that though around 90 per cent of the beneficiaries have received first tranche of government grant (Rs 50,000), majority of them have not started rebuilding houses, while a large number of households that have applied for the second and third tranche have not complied with the safe building codes.

Only a limited number of trained masons and lack of proper communication with the engineers deployed in the field are considered as the major causes for the slow reconstruction of individual houses, according to NRA officials.

NRA has also decided to extend the whole grant amount of Rs 300,000 to the beneficiaries, who build their house on own while complying with the safe building code standards of the NRA, according to NRA Undersecretary Bhisma Kumar Bhusal.

“NRA has been expediting grant distribution and deploying engineers to the villages to make the quake-affected households aware of the safe building codes.” However, progress is dismal, he admitted.

Few months back, the NRA has also unveiled low-cost housing designs that can be built within the government grant worth Rs 300,000. Bhusal of NRA said that the pace of reconstruction of individual houses is expected to pick up after this rainy season.