NRA approves six new designs of low-cost housing

Kathmandu, March 21

The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) is all set to unveil six new designs of earthquake-resistant low-cost housing. These designs have been prepared with the support of the Society of Nepali Architects and Japan International Cooperation Agency and have already been approved by the executive committee of NRA led by its Chief Executive Officer Govinda Raj Pokharel, today.

The new designs are cost-effective and can be built using local raw materials especially in the rural villages. As per the designs unveiled by NRA, a single storey house can be built at a total cost of around Rs 300,000, according to NRA. This means the cost of the house will be covered by the government grant worth Rs 300,000, but this cost excludes the cost to lay the foundation of the house.

According to Pokharel, these new designs could be the ultimate solution for the affected people, who do not have collateral to avail loans from banks and financial institutions and would have to invest their own resources on top of the government grant.

“We have received grievances from the affected people that the government grant is insufficient to rebuild the houses as per the already issued designs,” he informed.

The executive committee has urged a technical committee led by Hari Ram Parajuli, a NRA member, to deliver the blueprints of the designs at the local level. Earthquake-affected families can rebuild the houses using stones and mud or cement to construct the boundary walls and the roof with tiles, stones and corrugated sheets. Earlier, the NRA had unveiled 17 designs of earthquake-resistant houses for the quake-affected, who have been rebuilding houses with the government grant.

All the designs (including new designs) have been approved by the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction. NRA has said that only those who have followed the approved designs from NRA will qualify to avail second and third instalments. To avail the second and third tranche of the government grant, the beneficiary household must be certified that the house being rebuilt has followed any one of the designs approved by NRA.

NRA has been distributing government grant in three instalments — Rs 50,000 to lay the foundation, second tranche of Rs 150,000 to develop boundary wall and roofing structure, and third instalment of Rs 100,000 for roof cum installing solar of bio-gas facility.

Talking to The Himalayan Times, NRA’s Pokharel said that the house reconstruction will be expedited after the affected people get cost-effective options.

As of Sunday, only 1,687 houses have received second tranche of aid for house reconstruction out of the total 626,695 listed beneficiaries in 14 quake-affected districts, according to NRA.

The executive committee meeting also decided to instruct the chief district officers of the quake-hit districts to manage the land to rehabilitate vulnerable settlements. NRA has already proposed to grant Rs 200,000 to each affected household of such vulnerable settlements to purchase land on top of the housing reconstruction grant worth Rs 300,000.

The executive committee meeting, today also instructed heritage sites reconstruction subcommittee to address the concerns of the locals while rebuilding the archaeological sites of Kathmandu Valley.