Staff crunch dogs NRA since birth

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 26, 2016-As it struggles to retain staff and attract officials from other government offices, the National Reconstruction Authority is mulling over appointing staffers on contract basis.

The NRA, the central body responsible for reconstruction and rehabilitation of the earthquake-ravaged settlements, heritage sites and infrastructure, says officials below the joint-secretary and under-secretary level could be hired under contract.

During a press conference organised to share information on the first anniversary of its formation, NRA CEO Sushil Gyewali said the reconstruction law permits such model of appointment.

The NRA is taking up the option as it struggles to retain senior officials—mainly the joint-secretaries and under-secretaries. A final decision, however, has yet to be taken.

In general practice, government officials are not transferred before two years. However, in case of the NRA, senior officials have not stayed there for significant periods of time. Two NRA joint-secretaries—Ram Prasad Thapaliya and Ram Chandra Shrestha—were transferred recently after serving for 10 and 7 months, respectively.

Joint-secretaries Suresh Adhikari and Kali Prasad Parajuli left the NRA earlier. The government had created 208 posts while forming the rebuilding authority. However, the posts were reduced to 168 recently. The authority faced difficulties hiring the workforce, partly due to the reluctance of senior government officials to work under an “untested” chief executive and the lack of clarity on career prospects.

The NRA currently has around 100 officials. In the total 14 under-secretary posts, the Ministry of General Administration has appointed only 11 people.

A total of 41,311 houses were reconstructed without any support of the authority in the 14 quake-affected districts. “We’re planning to hand over the grants to those houses that are quake-resistant,” said Gyewali. The number of houses being rebuilt currently is 17,144.

As many as 626,036 households in the 14 districts are listed as eligible for reconstruction grants. “We’ve signed grant agreements with 543,107 households,” said Gyewali.

According to the NRA, 15 quake-damaged heritage sites were renovated in period while reconstruction of 74 archaeological structures would be over by the end of this fiscal year.

Published: 26-12-2016 08:12

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