NRA plans to complete housing reconstruction by this year

Kathmandu, November 28

Amid concerns from various quarters over the sluggish pace of post-earthquake reconstruction work across the country, National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) CEO Sushil Gyewali today said that reconstruction of private houses destroyed by the April 2015 quake will be completed by the end of this fiscal year.

“Majority of the housing grant beneficiaries have started rebuilding their houses and almost half of those beneficiaries have completed reconstruction of houses,” Gyewali told the Development and Technology Committee of Parliament today. Most of the beneficiaries of housing grants have already acquired the first tranche of the grant. “Beneficiaries are currently requesting for release of the second and third tranches of the grant. This shows reconstruction of private houses has gathered pace and we expect all quake-affected private houses to be rebuilt by this fiscal end,” said Gyewali.

The NRA has signed housing grant agreement with 731,182 quake victims. Of these, 727,123 beneficiaries, or 77 per cent, have started rebuilding their houses and 318,073 beneficiaries, or 43 per cent, have completed reconstruction of their quake-damaged houses, according to Gyewali.

The NRA has been disbursing the housing grant through central level project implementation units under the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, and the Ministry of Urban Development. Grants are being extended in three tranches of Rs 50,000, Rs 150,000 and Rs 100,000. Till date, 722,982 beneficiaries, or over 97 per cent, identified for housing grant have acquired the first tranche of the grant. Of these, 515,329 have acquired the second tranche. Only 317,717 beneficiaries have received the third tranche. Gyewali has urged beneficiaries, who are yet to apply for second and third tranches of the grant to hurry up, so that private housing reconstruction can be completed within this fiscal.

Lawmakers, however, have expressed doubts over NRA’s ambitious target.

“Majority of beneficiaries of the housing reconstruction grant are yet to receive the entire grant amount and they have not yet started rebuilding their houses owing to difficult procedure to receive the grant and stringent standards set by the government. Against this backdrop, NRA’s plan to complete housing reconstruction by this fiscal year appears unrealistic,” said Jib Tshring Lama, a lawmaker and member of the Development and Technology Committee.

Lawmakers also said government’s inability to properly implement its earlier decision to issue loan at subsidised interest of two per cent has affected private house reconstruction.

“The grant amount for quake victims is insufficient and they have not been able to get loans at subsidised interest as announced. This has affected reconstruction of houses,” said lawmaker Ganesh Pahadi.