NRA extends first instalment of grant

Kathmandu, April 1

At least 641 households in Lamidada and Ladruk villages of Dolakha district have entered into agreements with the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) to obtain the first instalment of the grant amount that the government has pledged to extend to survivors whose houses were completely destroyed by the earthquakes of April and May.

The grants are being extended based on these agreements.

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.

“We will start extending the first instalment of the grant amount in 10 additional districts — other than in Kathmandu Valley — that were badly hit by the quakes within mid-April,” NRA CEO Sushil Gyewali told the Parliamentary Committee on Good Governance and Monitoring today.

The NRA had started extending the first instalment of the grant amount from Dolakha district on March 13.

“But after distributing money to 500 or so households in the district, secretaries of many village development committees had abruptly brought the process to a halt demanding perks,” an official of the NRA told The Himalayan Times.

After hearing this complaint, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, during a meeting called to hold discussions with chief district officers and local development officers of 14 districts that were badly hit by the quakes, had said: “I can’t imagine officials showing such ruthless behaviour at a time when the nation is passing through a difficult phase. But if it is true, authorities should not hesitate to relocate them because we must do everything to assist earthquake victims.”

The PM held the view that reconstruction works are already moving ahead at a snail’s pace and hurdles created by staff will further decelerate the pace of rebuilding the nation.

The earthquakes have caused severe destructions in 14 districts, namely Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk, Gorkha, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Dhading, Kavrepalanchowk, Ramechhap, Bhaktapur, Okhaldhunga, Sindhuli, Lalitpur, Kathmandu and Makwanpur.

Besides, districts such as Lamjung, Chitwan, Tanahu, Khotang, Syangja, Palpa, Baglung, Gulmi, Solukhumbu, Kaski, Parbat, Myagdi, Arghakhanchi, Nawalparasi, Bhojpur, Dhankuta and Sankhuwasabha have also been affected by the quakes.

The quakes claimed around 9,000 lives, completely destroyed around 591,647 private houses, affected livelihoods of about 5.6 million workers and caused damage and losses worth around Rs 706.46 billion.

What was even more worrying was threat posed by the disasters to erode some of the gains

made in fighting absolute poverty, as it was feared as many as 982,000 additional people — or 3.5 per cent of the total population — would slip back into the trap of poverty.

Worse, the devastating quakes shaved an estimated Rs 36.52 billion off the projected gross domestic product, limiting economic growth of fiscal year 2014-15 to 3.04 per cent — the lowest since fiscal 2006-07.