Grant distribution gathers pace

Kathmandu, August 21

The number of households that have received the first instalment of the grant for house reconstruction in the last six days since August 16 has doubled as compared to the number of households that received the grant in the previous five months. This process has quickened as the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) launched a month-long campaign for grant distribution on August 15.

A total of 92,862 beneficiaries have obtained 25 per cent or Rs 50,000 of the grant as of today, according to Central Level Project Implementation Unit (CLPIU) under the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD).

The NRA has been mobilising the individual house reconstruction grant through MoFALD. It has set a target to distribute the first tranche of grant to all the beneficiaries who have signed the grant agreement with the local bodies by September 18. NRA had started grant distribution process from March 13, nearly 11 months after the devastating earthquake and only 49,749 beneficiaries had received the first instalment of the grant in the five-month period till August 15.

However, the reconstruction process has been expedited after the launch of grant distribution campaign and a total of 43,113 beneficiary households received Rs 50,000 each in six days.

A total of 364,220 households identified as eligible for the government’s grant have signed agreements with the local bodies under the supervision of NRA till date. “The government can reach out to those households that have signed the grant agreement within 37 days,” said Ram Prasad Thapaliya, spokesperson of NRA.

During the beneficiary survey commissioned by NRA, 531,937 households were identified as eligible for the government’s grant. NRA has also expedited the grant agreement signing process between beneficiary households and local bodies. The local bodies — Village Development Committee or municipality — forwards the files of grant agreement to the District Development Committee (DDC) and DDC forwards it to the District Treasury Controller Office to release the payment to the banks and financial institutions (BFIs). The beneficiary can then obtain the grant amount from the concerned BFI. Grant agreement paper and citizenship document are mandatory to receive the grant amount from the BFIs.

The NRA has said that around 15 to 20 per cent of the beneficiaries may be deprived of the grant because they do not have land ownership certificates. Land ownership certificate is mandatory to sign the grant agreement.

To facilitate those who have not registered their land, the NRA has issued Land Registration Guideline, 2016, which has authorised the land revenue officer to register the land of the earthquake survivor with the consent of chief district officer or local development officer. The quake survivor can then apply to the Land Revenue Office for the registration process of land where the survivor has been living since long, according to Thapaliya.

The MoFALD, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Land Reform and Management have already instructed their line agencies to facilitate the land registration process of quake survivors. As per the provision of the guideline, if the land registration is not settled at the district level the concerned person can file a complaint at the head office of the NRA and the review committee of NRA will facilitate the registration process.

“NRA believes that eligible households should not be deprived of the government’s aid for house reconstruction due to lack of land registration certificate,” Thapaliya stated.

The NRA has released Rs 19.33 billion to the CLPIU to distribute the first instalment of the grant. But the CLPIU has projected that it will require Rs 24 billion for the distribution of first instalment to the beneficiary households in 11 districts outside Kathmandu Valley, according to Ganesh Raj Osti, project director at CLPIU.