Yubaraj Bhusal appointed new chief executive officer of NRA
- Third person to lead reconstruction authority in less than three years
Oct 24, 2017-The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), set-up to oversee the reconstruction works in the aftermath of the April 2015 earthquake, which killed nearly 9,000 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of houses, seems to have become a political playground for parties.
After Govinda Raj Pokhrel, who was first appointed the NRA chief executive officer only to have his appointment see an automatic annulment due to lack of law, resigned, the government on Monday appointed Yubaraj Bhusal, the third person to lead the authority.
Pokhrel was first appointed the CEO of the NRA by then Sushil Koirala government in August 2015 through an ordinance. But after his appointment was scrapped, the CPN-UML government led by KP Sharma Oli in December appointed Sushil Gyewali as the NRA chief.
The Nepali Congress-Maoist Centre government led by Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal in January sacked Gyewali to bring Pokhrel back at the NRA helm. Now the Sher Bahadur Deuba government has chosen Bhusal to lead the reconstruction body.
Frequent changes in the NRA have been made despite serious concerns over the delay in reconstruction of damaged houses, with thousands of people still awaiting housing grant. Many of the quake survivors are either still living in temporary shelters or damaged houses.
Bhusal, a former finance secretary, is also the in-law of senior NC leader Ram Chandra Poudel, who leads his own faction in the ruling party to maintain a check on party President Sher Bahadur Deuba. According to sources, Poudel had unsuccessfully lobbied for Bhusal during the Nepal Rastra Bank governor race as well.
During his 34 years in bureaucracy starting in 1980, Bhusal served in various government agencies--the National Planning Commission (NPC), local development, general administration and tourism among others. Bhusal’s appointment was made after Pokhrel, also a former vice-chairperson of the National Planning Commission, stepped down as the NRA chief to contest the upcoming federal polls from Pyuthan on the NC ticket.
Pokhrel though has claimed that his exit from the NRA won’t affect the ongoing reconstruction drive, senior bureaucrats at the authority say frequent changes in the leadership will impact the authority. “The NRA already has a mechanism in place and is able to function on its own. But frequent changes in the body will definitely have some repercussions,” a senior NRA official said.
The authority has completed survey of reconstruction drive in 17 earthquake affected districts.
The NRA has claimed that more than 200,000 private homes have either been rebuilt or are under construction in 14 districts worst hit by the 2015 earthquakes. Pokhrel also had his share of failure as NRA boss.
The NRA has identified 737,705 households as the beneficiary of housing grant. Of the total, 620,646 households have acquired first tranche of the government aid, 85,332 have received the second tranche and 12,726 have received the third tranche, showing slow progress contrary to the claims made by the authority.
Published: 24-10-2017 08:24