Apropos of the news story, “Pace of reconstruction taking forever to pick up” (THT, April 25, Page 1), what will the NRA do if another disaster hits us again? It is already short of Rs 429 billion to complete the reconstruction of structures destroyed in the 2015 April quake.
What is the NRA doing about this shortfall? How does it intend to raise it to disburse it to 50 per cent identified and bona fide quake victims who have not yet received any tranche of Rs 350,000 of the housing grant? Can the NRA provide labour and construction material instead of money to those who have not received a rupee? That is another way to provide relief to the beneficiaries that have not received the grant, which will also provide much-needed employment to the unemployed youth. The NRA should offer this alternative to the victims who have not yet received monetary assistance.
It should also give adequate training to the youth in constructing houses and temples and draft them as and when the next quake strikes the country. Also, policies on disaster management should address shifting human habitations from the vulnerable areas and regions, such as Kathmandu, to safer areas in the country. The population pressure on Kathmandu and other areas prone to quakes must be mitigated to save lives and property. At the same time, the NRA, or the government, must strictly enforce building codes which restrict houses in the core areas to four-and-a-half storey. Many owners apply for house completion certificate after four-and-a-half storey, and once they get it, start adding a few more illegal storeys.
Manohar Shrestha, Kathmandu
The recent summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was not only interesting but has also caught the eye of the world. As opposed to the USA, Russia has been doing a lot of hard work to mend the strained relationship and build a good environment.
Whenever I turn online or to newspapers, reports of North Korean leader’s political movement literally start falling all over the world. In my observation, he is getting undivided attention of the media world and countries, both from the East and the West. But what’s up? What is really cooking? These are the real questions. In the first place, countries like North Korea should drop or keep out nuclear plans altogether.
Secondly, countries such as Russia, China and North Korea should switch their attention to the bigger world issues like climate change, challenges of rain forest issues, economic slump, agricultural status and jobs in industries. I am pretty much sure these countries are home to large rivers, huge mountains, natural resources and agricultural activities – just like other Asian countries — Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh. With strong policies and fruitful agendas relevant to the world issues in place, they will be able to make great changes to the region and the world community.
P Senthil Saravana Durai, Mumbai
A version of this article appears in print on April 29, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.