NRA may decide on additional grant today

- SARIN GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Sep 26, 2016-

Even as the government has promised to provide an additional Rs100,000 in housing reconstruction aid to victims of last year’s devastating earthquake, over 140,000 families are yet to receive the first tranche of grant amount.

A report presented by the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) CEO Sushil Gyawali on Sunday states the first instalment of grant worth Rs50,000 was provided to 393,677 households out of the total 533,182 households eligible to receive the amount. While 79,167 households are yet to sign agreements due to disputes, 60,338 families who have already signed the agreement are yet to receive the grant.

The government is likely to make an announcement to provide the additional grant to quake victims on Monday after the NRA Steering Committee meeting failed to take any concrete decision on Sunday. 

The government, which had earlier decided to provide Rs200,000, has promised quake victims Rs300,000 in three instalments--Rs50,000 in the first, Rs150,000 in the second and Rs100,000 in the third.

The NRA report suggested that the previously pledged foreign aid would not be sufficient for the purpose and urged the government to seek additional funds from donor agencies.

The international community, during a conference held in the Capital last year after the April 25 earthquake, had pledged to provide Rs400 billion in support. The NRA report, however, states that an agreement for only about Rs 272 billion has been signed so far with the international donors.

When asked how the additional grant would be collected, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Ramesh Lekhak said the government had several options--the line of credit facility provided by India, garner internal resources and seek additional funds from other development partners. “We are confident of acquiring additional funds for the purpose,” he said.

On September 8, while speaking at the Legislature-Parliament, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had announced to provide an additional Rs100,000 each to the quake-affected families to rebuild their damaged homes. Dahal, after assuming his office, had also asked the NRA to release the first instalment of grant to the quake victims within 45 days.

Meanwhile, secretaries of various ministries, including the Ministry of General Administration, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, among others, also share their progress and obstacles faced in reconstruction work.

NRA Steering Committee members Kishor Thapa, Nimananda Rijal and Tara Nidhi Bhattarai also shared the challenges faced by the authority while conducting reconstruction works, said the PM’s secretariat. 

Dahal, who also chairs the NRA, and CPN-UML Bhim Rawal, the vice-chairman, will make their remarks in the meeting on Monday.

Published: 26-09-2016 08:36

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