Kathmandu, November 23
The National Planning Commission (NPC) has started laying the groundwork to utilise around 68 per cent of the amount allocated for the National Reconstruction Fund to kick-start long-delayed reconstruction works in the areas that were devastated by earthquakes of April and May.
Launching the annual budget in mid-July, the government had said Rs 74 billion would be transferred to the National Reconstruction Fund this fiscal to rebuild structures damaged by quakes.
Although it has been more than four months since the budget was launched, very little money has been spent in reconstruction and rehabilitation due to political wrangling over establishment of the National Authority for Reconstruction.
This political bickering, in turn, has forced many people to stay in temporary shelters without proper arrangements of drinking water and sanitation facilities.
“We are now planning to spend Rs 50 billion of Rs 74 billion allocated for this financial year,” said NPC Joint Secretary Gopi Nath Mainali. “We have already asked all the ministries to send proposals on reconstruction and rehabilitation based on allocations made by the report on Post Disaster Needs Assessment.”
Once NPC receives proposals from all the ministries, it will give final shape to the plan and implement it.
The NPC had decided to commence long-delayed reconstruction works after the Cabinet meeting of last week gave it the mandate 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 have to hand over these tasks to the National Authority for Reconstruction upon its formation.
“With the mandate given to us by the Cabinet, we could have framed plans to utilise the entire budget of Rs 74 billion. But since four months of this fiscal have already elapsed, it would be difficult for us to spend the entire fund,” said Mainali.
The NPC is planning to spend a big chunk of Rs 50 billion to rebuild private houses destroyed by the quakes.
“We hope to spend around Rs 22 to 23 billion to restore private houses destroyed by quakes,” Mainali said.
Earlier, the government had pledged to distribute Rs 200,000 to owners of every private house that was fully damaged by the quakes. The government is planning to distribute this amount in four instalments of 25 per cent, 30 per cent, 35 per cent and 10 per cent. It is said around 490,000 private houses have been fully
damaged by the quakes.
Also, around Rs three billion would be spent in the education sector and around Rs 2.15 billion would be used to rebuild roads damaged by the quakes. Among others, around Rs 1.30 billion each would go towards energy, and drinking water and sanitation sectors, while around Rs 1.75 billion would go towards building government and community houses.
“However, these figures are preliminary and might be revised in the days to come,” Mainali said.
A version of this article appears in print on November 24, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.