NRA unable to provide additional Rs 100,000 to quake victims

January 28, 2018

The Himalayan Times, 28 Jan 2018 

National Reconstruction Authority says it cannot provide the additional grant of Rs 100,000 announced by the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government for each earthquake victim who qualify for government grant, this fiscal.

Chief Executive Officer of National Reconstruction Authority Yuba Raj Bhusal told THT that NRA needed another Rs 100 billion to provide grants of Rs 300,000 to quake victims, but the government had allocated only Rs 53 billion this fiscal. “If we provide additional Rs 100,000 to quake victims, that will increase financial burden of Rs 100 billion on the NRA and I do not think we will be able to provide such a huge amount to victims this fiscal,” Bhusal added.

NRA has set a target of rebuilding at least 60 per cent houses of earthquake victims this fiscal, which means  50,000 houses should be rebuilt this fiscal.

A total of 93,000 houses have been built with the NRA’s assistance so far, and 230,000 houses are under construction.

Bhusal said although the government made provisions for bank loans to quake victims, only 659 people took the loan, which was not even one per cent of quake victims who had to rebuild their houses.

“Only those victims who have taken Rs 300,000 grant from the government are eligible for bank loans. Bhusal said quake victims needed to meet technical requirements to get the second tranche of the grant but since many victims had not received technical assistance, they were unable to get the second tranche.

Engineer Jivan Sapkota, deployed in Sindhupalchowk by the Ministry of Urban Development said over phone that  many people who qualified for the first tranche of government grant could not get the second or third tranche because of technical reasons. “Now the quake victims need to have 121 square feet rooms and many people do not have enough land for this size,” he said, adding that in rural areas, many quake victims failed to get further grants mainly because they could not  bring photos of their under-construction  houses to government offices.

Bhusal said 100,000 houses were damaged by the quake in Kathmandu, but only 4,300 houses had been reconstructed and 15,000 houses were under construction. “Owners of 80,000 quake-damaged houses have not started reconstruction yet and I believe the victims have not been able to do so mainly due to financial crunch.” He added that he would hold a meeting with the banks tomorrow to discuss how they could provide  loans to quake victims. “In urban areas, a grant of Rs 300,000 may be just enough to demolish a quake victim’s house,” he argued.

CEO Bhusal said his office was collecting data of quake victims who were unable to rebuild their houses due to their age, social and physical conditions. “I am planning to rebuild the houses of victims who are above 70 and single women above 65,” Bhusal said, adding that his office would rebuild houses of orphans below 16 and quake victims with physical disability. “Old people, juvenile orphans and quake victims with physical disability cannot rebuild their houses even if the government gives them one million rupees,” Bhusal said and added that once his office collected data from all ward offices of local levels, his office would request Red Cross and other organisations to rebuild their houses.

There are 767,705 households that are eligible for housing grants.