NRA plans to mobilise local unit representatives

Kathmandu, June 20

The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) is preparing to mobilise newly-elected local representatives of the government to expedite the post-earthquake reconstruction process at the local level.

Yam Lal Bhoosal, spokesperson for NRA, informed that the authority is in the process of developing a working guideline to mobilise elected local representatives to accelerate post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction works from the beginning of fiscal year 2017-18.

“The reconstruction activities, basically that of housing, has failed to pick up speed due to various reasons, including confusion among housing grant beneficiaries, and lack of motivation, among others,” Bhoosal said, adding that NRA plans to use elected local representatives of the government to give housing reconstruction a boost and facilitate related activities at local level.

NRA basically plans to mobilise mayors, deputy mayors, chiefs and deputy chiefs of rural municipalities across Nepal in reconstruction process.

“The slow pace of post-quake reconstruction is also due to lack of proper guidance for earthquake victims in rebuilding the damaged physical infrastructure. Local level representatives can play a crucial role to motivate, encourage and assist the local level reconstruction activities,” the NRA spokesperson said.

While two years have already passed since the devastating earthquake rattled the country, the road to recovery has been an uphill climb with almost 85 per cent of eligible beneficiaries of the government grant in the 14 worst-affected districts yet to start the process of rebuilding their houses and damaged physical structures in different sectors are yet to be rebuilt.

The NRA data shows that only 28,219 houses have been built so far under the housing grant of the government and around 68,000 houses are under construction out of total 626,695 eligible households to claim the government grant.

Similarly, the reconstruction of quake-damaged physical infrastructure across the country has remained sluggish. As per NRA, the reconstruction of only 20 quake-damaged heritage sites out of the identified 750 sites have been completed.

Moreover, the government has completed the reconstruction of only 1,141 schools out 9,923 schools that were damaged by the earthquakes in 2015. Likewise, the reconstruction of quake-hit health institutions and government-owned buildings has also been lethargic. The government has been able to fully reconstruct only 32 government buildings, out of 2,628 buildings damaged by the earthquake. Similarly, reconstruction of only 200 health institutions out of the 440 damaged by the earthquake has been completed so far.

Meanwhile, NRA has said that almost 31,000 quake beneficiaries have taken the second tranche of housing grant so far. NRA has been distributing the housing grant in three tranches of Rs 50,000, Rs 150,000 and Rs 100,000. More than 90 per cent of the beneficiaries have received first tranche of government grant, according to NRA.

Bhoosal informed that the second tranche of housing grant has been denied temporarily to almost 6,000 beneficiaries out of 50,000 applications received as they had not complied with building codes. “However, they could be eligible if they make necessary modifications as advised.”