House panel asks govt to disclose post-quake reconstruction plans

Kathmandu, January 10

The Parliamentary Committee on Development has directed the government to disclose information on funds extended by development partners to execute post-quake reconstruction works, funding pledges made by donor agencies to support reconstruction efforts, and plans and proposals framed so far to utilise aid amount.

The committee has also directed various ministries to execute works related to reconstruction and rehabilitation in acoordinated and transparent manner, and formulate detailed work plans to rebuild public infrastructure and sites of cultural heritage damaged by earthquakes.

The tremors of April and May claimed around 9,000 lives and caused heavy destructions in 14 districts, including three in the Kathmandu Valley. The quakes also completely destroyed around 591,647 private houses, affected livelihoods of about 5.6 million workers and caused damage and losses worth around Rs 706.46 billion.

Today, over eight months have passed since the major quake of April 25 hit the country. Yet, the government has not been able to rebuild infrastructure damaged by the quakes and restore livelihoods of quake survivors due to delay in formation of the National Authority for Reconstruction (NAR).

The NAR, a powerful body which will oversee reconstruction activities, has now come into operation following the appointment of the CEO. But it is still in the phase of fulfilling vacant posts at the central office and preparing policies and guidelines to roll out reconstruction and rehabilitation works.

The NAR is currently conducting operation and management survey to get a complete picture on staff that it needs to hire to perform various duties. A meeting of the steering committee scheduled for Monday is expected to discuss this issue.

Also, the NAR is preparing an implementation strategy to carry out reconstruction works expeditiously.

Among others, the NAR is also conducting detail damage assessment of private houses destroyed by quakes. Once these assessments are complete, the NAR hopes to frame a National Reconstruction Guideline based on which all reconstruction works would be conducted.

The assessments are currently being done in Dolakha and Rasuwa.

In the next three weeks, these evaluations will be done in all the districts hit by quakes by mobilising 100 engineers and 100 community workers in each district, NAR told the parliamentary committee today, adding, “Within a month, reconstruction of private houses destroyed by quakes will gradually begin from village development committees where detail damage assessments have been completed.”

For this, the NAR has started training people who wish to take part in private house reconstruction works. Also, groundwork is being laid to provide on-the-job training to people who wish to work at house construction sites, the NAR said.

The NAR’s basic responsibility is to prepare reconstruction policies and mobilise financial resources to implement reconstruction projects. The reconstruction works will be rolled out by line ministries and bodies under them.