Kathmandu, February 22
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has sought to create a joint Nepal-India mechanism to ensure smooth supply of construction materials during post-earthquake reconstruction phase.
The call for the mechanism was made by NRA CEO Sushil Gyewali during a meeting with representatives of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi today.
“Also, it is essential to ensure quality of construction materials,” said Gyewali, who is accompanying Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in his official India visit.
Nepal needs to spend at least Rs 665 billion to rebuild infrastructure destroyed and damaged by devastating earthquakes of April and May and restore livelihoods of millions of people affected by the disaster.
NRA has already mobilised 1,400 engineers to conduct Building Damage and Census Survey to rebuild private houses destroyed by the quakes.
At least 510,000 private houses were completely destroyed by the quakes and another 291,707 houses were damaged by the disaster.
The government has pledged to extend a grant of Rs 200,000 to every owner whose house was destroyed by the quakes. This amount would be provided in three instalments of Rs 50,000, Rs 80,000 and Rs 70,000.
Apart from building private houses, NRA is also mulling over relocating 143 settlements.
In this regard, NRA is planning to develop new smart cities, towns and villages, Gyewali said, adding, “Nepali and Indian investors can explore possibilities of working together in these areas … This will expedite reconstruction works.”
Gyewali also said technology transfer was another area where Nepali and Indian businesspersons could work together.
“We must adopt latest construction technology but preserve Nepali architecture as well,” he said.
To facilitate reconstruction works, NRA has already established six sub-regional offices. These offices, located in Dolakha, Kavre, Nuwakot, Gorkha, Kathmandu and Lalitpur, will oversee reconstruction works in 14 districts that were badly hit by the earthquakes of April and May.
The quakes have badly affected Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk, Gorkha, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Dhading, Kavrepalanchowk, Ramechhap, Bhaktapur, Okhaldhunga, Sindhuli, Lalitpur, Kathmandu and Makwanpur districts.
Also, Lamjung, Chitwan, Tanahu, Khotang, Syangja, Palpa, Baglung, Gulmi, Solukhumbu, Kaski, Parbat, Myagdi, Arghakhachi, Nawalparasi, Bhojpur, Dhankuta and Sankhuwasabha districts have been affected by quakes. One sub-regional office will be set up at a convenient location to oversee reconstruction works in these 17 districts affected by quakes.
“We seek cooperation at government-to-government, private sector-to-private sector and people-to-people levels to rebuild physical infrastructure damaged or destroyed by quakes,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on February 23, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.