Government ready to revise policies to ensure grant for earthquake survivors

Kathmandu, April 3

The National Reconstruction Authority Directive Committee today decided to put in place provisions on reconstruction grant for earthquake survivors who have rebuilt their houses but have failed to meet government-set criteria for quake-resistant structures.

NRA CEO Yubraj Bhusal said the committee took the decision on the directive of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who also chairs the NRA Directive Committee.

According to a source, Oli said in the meeting that laws and policies could be revised, if needed, to implement the decision.

Addressing the House of Representative after the NRA meeting, Oli said those who had already rebuilt their

houses should get grant so as to expedite the reconstruction process.

“I have directed that priority should be given to bring back senior citizens, children, pregnant women, differently-abled people and single women to proper houses from makeshift shelters.”

The PM said temples and other archaeological sites could be built next year, as priority should be given to ensure proper houses for the quake-hit general public.

Lawmakers Agni Sapkota, Yagya Raj Sunuwar, Prem Suwal, Krishna Prasad Dahal, Pampha Bhusal and Birodh Khatiwada also highlighted the plight of quake survivors in the Parliament. They said the government had politicised the issue and demanded that quake survivors be given grants without any hassles.

PM Oli has asked the NRA to update him on reconstruction every 15 days. He added that he would leave no stone unturned to ensure necessary resources were made available for reconstruction.

The NRA has extended the deadline for beneficiaries of housing grants to avail the second tranche of the grant until mid-July.

CEO Bhusal told THT that NRA decided to extend the deadline, as majority of housing grant beneficiaries who had taken the first tranche of the grant did not collect the second tranche.

Though the government had initially set mid-January deadline for beneficiaries to collect the second tranche of housing grant, it was extended till mid-April. “We extended the deadline further, as more than half the housing grant beneficiaries who have got the first tranche of housing grant are yet to take the second tranche,” said Bhusal.

He adding that majority of beneficiaries were not able to start construction of their houses with the first tranche amount due to increase in prices of construction materials and unavailability of contractors.

To receive the second tranche of the housing grant, beneficiaries have to complete the foundation of their houses, complying with safety standards set by the government, according to the NRA provision.

NRA statistics show that though 691,107 identified beneficiaries for the housing grant have taken the first tranche (Rs 50,000), only 331,863 beneficiaries have taken the second tranche (Rs 150,000) of the housing grant. As many as 91,880 beneficiaries have taken the third tranche of housing grant (Rs 100,000).