Kathmandu, March 22
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has authorised the Central Level Project Implementation Unit (CLPIU) under the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD) to spend Rs 9.95 billion for reconstruction of individual houses that were damaged during the devastating earthquake of April 2015.
NRA has issued the authority to CLPIU to expedite the grant distribution process as it has been criticised due to the dismal progress regarding post-earthquake reconstruction. During the mid-term review of the fiscal budget of this fiscal, Ministry of Finance (MoF) had said less than one-third of the budget allocated for reconstruction was spent in the first half of the fiscal.
The NRA has said that the second and third tranches of the individual housing reconstruction will be distributed after the house owner certifies that the house under construction has been constructed following the safe building code and it has been verified by the engineers deployed at the local level.
NRA further added that the individual house reconstruction will be expedited in the quake-hit districts as it has urged the affected people to obtain the entire grant amount that is being distributed in three instalments before the end of this fiscal.
Beneficiaries of the housing grant had apparently slowed down their construction activities as they were waiting for the increased grant amount to be released following the decision of the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government to raise the grant amount. The Deuba-led government had decided to increase the grant amount from Rs 300,000 to Rs 400,000, however, NRA has already made it clear to the beneficiaries that the grant amount will not be raised.
According to Yam Lal Bhoosal, spokesperson for NRA, reconstruction of individual houses will accelerate as the new government has given high priority to complete the reconstruction works as early as possible.
“NRA has authorised CLPIU to distribute the budget so that the beneficiaries can obtain the aid on time.” Bhoosal further said that the NRA has authorised CLPIU to distribute the money immediately after the MoF sends it to NRA.
As per NRA, a total of 367,165 houses are under construction in the 31 quake-affected districts. Likewise, 311,703 beneficiaries have qualified to receive the second tranche. Eligible beneficiaries will receive Rs 150,000 as the second tranche.
Similarly, a total of 82,588 beneficiaries have been certified to receive the third tranche till today evening, as per NRA. Quake-affected households that have been certified to receive the third tranche will receive Rs 100,000 of which they will have to spend Rs 25,000 for biogas or solar energy. As per the provision of NRA, the beneficiaries must obtain second tranche by mid-April and the last tranche by the end of this fiscal or mid-July.
NRA has also urged the beneficiaries who obtained Rs 50,000 as the first tranche despite owning a house in another place of the country and those do not want to rebuild their houses to return the first tranche to the NRA.
A version of this article appears in print on March 23, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.