Quake-hit to get first tranche of grant by Sept 18

Kathmandu, August 15

After spending over a year in makeshift shelters, survivors who lost their homes to the devastating earthquakes of last year may be relieved to know that they may be able to obtain the first tranche of government’s aid to rebuild their houses within a month.

The National Reconstruction Authority today launched a month-long campaign to distribute Rs 50,000 (25 per cent of the total grant amount) to the beneficiaries who have signed grant agreement with the local bodies.

The ambitious campaign has aimed to provide some relief to 289,713 households that have already signed the grant agreement but are yet to receive the government’s pledged support in 11 quake-hit districts out of Kathmandu Valley.

Altogether, 531,937 households had been identified as eligible to receive the grant in the said districts, while only 49,749 beneficiary households have received the first instalment as of today.

The grant distribution process was started on March 13, nearly 11 months after the devastating earthquake.

While launching the campaign today, NRA CEO Sushil Gyewali said the authority would conclude signing the grant agreement with beneficiary households, including in the Kathmandu Valley, by September 18. The NRA has already initiated beneficiary survey in the Valley and the survey in Lalitpur district has been completed.

NRA is also planning to settle majority of the complaints lodged by households from affected districts during the campaign period.

Over 100,000 households from 11 quake-affected districts have lodged complaints, claiming they were excluded from the list of beneficiaries even though they were eligible to receive grant from the government.

The NRA launched one-month campaign after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal instructed the NRA a few days ago to distribute the first tranche of grant within 45 days.

The NRA has been working with Central Level Project Implementation Unit under the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development to distribute the housing reconstruction grant at the local level. NRA has already released Rs 20 billion to the CLPIU for grant distribution.

The CLPIU works with the District Administration Offices for the housing grant distribution. Local bodies submit grant agreement files to DAOs, which forward the files to District Treasury Controller Offices to release the grant amount for beneficiary households to the concerned banks and financial institutions.

Thereafter, the grant amount is deposited in bank accounts of beneficiaries, from where they can withdraw the amount.

To accelerate the process, the NRA will further monitor and facilitate every mechanism authorised to carry out the grant distribution, as per CEO Gyewali.

The NRA has claimed that reconstruction drive will not be affected due to lack of funds. As per NRA CEO Gyewali, out of the total commitment of Rs 344 billion for post-earthquake reconstruction, the government had signed agreements with development partners to mobilise Rs 186 billion.

The government is all set to sign agreements with the government of India and Department for International Development, UK, to mobilise Rs 75 billion and Rs 10 billion, respectively, for post-quake reconstruction.