The Kathmandu Post, 28 Dec 2017
Only 11 per cent of the private homes that were heavily damaged or destroyed in the 2015 earthquake have been reconstructed as the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) completed its second anniversary.
A total of 79, 514 private homes have been rebuilt and 194,196 homers are under construction, which the NRA has portrayed as the combined progress of 40 per cent in the last two years.
Nearly three years after the destructive earthquake that killed 8,790 persons and caused a colossal property loss, the reconstruction works remain sluggish in truth, with 60 per cent of the houses still awaiting completion, many of their occupants still living in temporary shelters.
Still, the NRA has termed its works in the last two year’s as encouraging progress.
“The number of completed and under-construction houses looks low in all the 35 districts, but as we are more focused in 14 worst-hit districts the success is encouraging. This is not low progress,” said Yam Lal Bhushal, spokespersons with the NRA.
The NRA along with the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) had surveyed a total of 996,582 households in 31 districts following the disaster. Of the surveyed households, 767,705 were identified as eligible recipients for housing reconstruction aid; 676,849 households actually signed the housing aid agreement with the NRA.
The housing aid is being issued in three instalments of Rs 50,000; Rs 150,000; and Rs 100,000.
In the last two years, a total 98 per cent (664,644) and other 17 per cent (115,192) families have received the first and second instalments of the aid respectively. Only 26,454 families have applied for the third and final batch of the aid, according to the NRA report that was made public on its second anniversary on Wednesday.
“Families who have reached the roofing level and have submitted the application for approval with the engineer can apply for the third instalment of the aid,” the NRA spokesperson said, adding that many households have expedite the construction works over the last few months.
The NRA has also claimed that the construction of private homes in most places will be completed in the next six months.
The post-earthquake reconstruction body has time and again faced criticisms for snail-paced recovery works, largely owing to frequent change of leadership and insufficient budget allocation. The NRA has already seen three CEOs since its inception two years ago.
The current NRA CEO Yubaraj Bhushal, however, said that leadership change hardly affected the reconstruction works.
“The bureaucracy was well adept to such changes as we have guiding policies and mandates to move ahead with our works,” he said.
He did, however, admitted to the reconstruction works being hamstrung by lack of funds.
“We are likely to fall short of Rs 3 billion for the overall reconstruction works,” he said.
According to the initial study of the NRA, the reconstruction works will require Rs 938 billion.
The NRA CEO said that they was planning to organise a donors’ conference in the next fiscal year to collect funds.