62pc houses reconstructed, 25pc under-construction, 17pc yet to start
Kathmandu, January 11
The Advisory Council of National Reconstruction Authority has directed the NRA to expedite reconstruction and recovery of structures damaged in the 2015 earthquakes. It has been told to complete the remaining works at the earliest.
The meeting of the council headed by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli concluded that reconstruction work was on the right track, while directing the NRA to carry out its duties and responsibilities in a speedy manner. PM Oli, who is also the chairperson of the council, said that progress made by the NRA so far was satisfactory, but not excellent. “I strongly urge the NRA to complete the outstanding works as soon as possible by resolving all the problems related to reconstruction and recovery of earthquake-damaged structures,” he said.
The prime minister said that representatives from the international community working for disaster management and reconstruction in Nepal had praised the progress made by the government during his visit with them. “Despite this, what we have done and achieved is not enough. There is still more to do to improve policies, raise social awareness and mobilise corporate bodies, local levels and technicians,” he suggested.
Lawmaker Agni Sapkota stressed the need to redress the grievances of earthquake victims in coordination with local levels and accord priority to reconstruction of heritages, schools and universities. Lawmaker Yagraj Subedi suggested that the government pay attention to the construction of integrated settlements through infrastructure development. “We have yet to see satisfactory results in the area of water supply infrastructure, grievance redress and retrofitting.
Lawmaker Prem Suwal urged the NRA to reconstruct Bhaktapur-based National Art Gallery in typical Nepali style and increase the amount of housing grant and subsidised loan. Lawmaker Pampha Bhusal said earthquake victims were still facing problems with regard to swabasi (dwellers staying on their own) and guthi (trust) land. She suggested that the NRA form a special task force to resolve the problems.
Lawmaker Birodh Khatiwada questioned the NRA for not expediting retrofitting work of damaged structures where it was possible. He also said the NRA had not accorded even least priority to reconstruction of health facilities.
Lawmaker Hit Bahadur Tamang urged the NRA to address the problems of earthquake survivors, who were not recognised as beneficiaries for housing grant due to lack of land ownership certificate.
Lawmaker Hariraj Adhikari suggested that the NRA relocate vulnerable settlement of Gorkha to a safer place.
NRA Chief Executive Officer Sushil Gyawali claimed that progress made so far had created a foundation for resilient Nepal. During the meeting, he briefed the council about the present status of reconstruction and submitted an action plan. He informed that 62 per cent of private housing reconstruction was over, 25 per cent was under way and 17 per cent had yet to start.
“Tendency of executing property partition to claim housing grant, submission of false details and less interest among beneficiaries in retrofitting are other challenges facing the NRA,” said Gyawali. He informed that the NRA would provide further support to local levels of urban areas to expedite the reconstruction and recovery works,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on January 12, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.