PM admits NRA won’t complete task in its tenure

Kathmandu, January 14

The National Reconstruction Authority is unlikely to complete its task of reconstruction within its stipulated five-year tenure. Three years of its tenure have already gone.

Some of the major reconstruction tasks, including Dharahara, Ranipokhari, and monuments may not be completed within the NRA’s tenure.

NRA Chairperson and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today told a meeting of the NRA advisory council in Baluwatar that some of the major tasks, including Dharahara, may not be completed within five years. “We should still try to construct Dharahara within five years,” PM Oli said.

NRA was formed nine months after the 2015 earthquakes. Some legal issues have proved to be hurdles in constructing Ranipokhari and other important sites.

“Although donors pledged support for reconstruction, the government could not receive all the assistance pledged by donors due to their conditions,” PM Oli told the meeting that was open for media representatives.

According to him, Rs 121 billion was spent on reconstruction by the government and Rs 67 billion was provided by donors.

PM Oli also clarified that beneficiaries who have already built their house as per their skill in the absence of engineers would receive government grants. “We wanted to support earthquake survivors, the NRA was formed for them. If the laws and directives do not help victims, then those laws and directives should be amended,” said PM Oli. He also said that the Cabinet meeting held yesterday discussed the modality of grant distribution for those who have already built their houses but do not meet the criteria set by the government. Out of 811,154 beneficiaries, only 347,817 beneficiaries have built their houses.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali told the meeting that reconstruction work was on track, but in some places, the pace of reconstruction was very slow.

He said reconstruction work in integrated settlements had not moved ahead as per the government’s expectation. There were 37 proposals for integrated settlements out of which only two proposals were acted upon.

“The integrated settlement will not be successful without livelihood programmes in the new location,” he said.

Lawmakers from 14 districts that were badly affected by earthquake continue to raise issues facing earthquake survivors. They said earthquake survivors were facing drinking water shortage and they were not getting soft loans. They also said survivors were not getting engineers to monitor reconstruction.

The main opposition Nepali Congress did not attend the meeting and former prime ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai who are ex-officious members of the council, also not attend the meeting.