NPC approves reconstruction projects worth Rs 4 billion

Kathmandu, November 30

The National Planning Commission (NPC), the apex body that frames the country’s development plans and

policies, has approved post-earthquake reconstruction projects worth around Rs four billion.

The approval was extended at a time the government has been facing criticisms for not making serious

efforts to rebuild parts of the country ravaged by the earthquakes of April and May.

“Of the projects that have been approved, around Rs two billion worth of projects belong to the Ministry of Energy (MoE) and around Rs two billion worth of projects are under the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT),” NPC Joint Secretary Gopi Nath Mainali said.

The projects proposed by the MoE are related to reconstruction of infrastructure damaged by the quakes and rural electrification.

The projects proposed by the MoPIT, on the other hand, are related to replacement of equipment and reconstruction of roads and offices of the ministry damaged by the earthquakes.

“We hope more ministries will submit their reconstruction proposals in the coming days,” Mainali said.

The NPC started overseeing the works related to reconstruction and rehabilitation after a recent Cabinet meeting authorised it to fix budgetary ceilings for reconstruction and rehabilitation works, approve programmes related to reconstruction and rehabilitation, and manage and monitor works related to reconstruction and rehabilitation.

The NPC will hand over these tasks to the National Authority for Reconstruction (NAR) upon its formation.

The NPC is currently mulling over utilising around Rs 50 billion of Rs 74 billion allocated for the National

Reconstruction Fund (NRF) this fiscal year for reconstruction and rehabilitation purpose.

A big chunk of this money would be spent to rebuild private houses destroyed by the quakes.

“We hope to spend around Rs 22 to 23 billion to restore private houses destroyed by earthquakes,” Mainali said.

Launching the annual budget in mid-July, the government had said Rs 74 billion would be transferred

to the NRF this fiscal to execute post-disaster reconstruction works.

However, this money has not been utilised so far due to political wrangling over establishment of the NAR.

This political bickering, in turn, has forced many people to stay in temporary shelters without proper

arrangements for drinking water and sanitation facilities.

While delay in NAR’s formation has affected reconstruction and rehabilitation plans, trade disruption at

Nepal-India border points — which has triggered fuel crisis — has made matters worse.

Development partners last week said if the fuel crisis prolongs and the government fails to make necessary arrangements to transport supplies, many earthquake victims living in high mountains may be deprived of crucial support during winter, triggering another humanitarian crisis.

Extension of grant in three instalments proposed

KATHMANDU: The National Planning Commission (NPC) has proposed that the government extend Rs 200,000 pledged to owners, whose houses were destroyed by earthquakes of April and May, in three instalments. “We have already forwarded a proposal in this regard to the Cabinet. We hope it will take a decision in this regard soon,” NPC Joint Secretary Gopi Nath Mainali said. A guideline introduced earlier by the government incorporated a provision on distribution of the grant in four instalments. The NPC had asked the government to amend this provision as it would take a long time to distribute the entire grant amount if it was distributed in four instalments.