Tika Pradhan, The Kathmandu Post, April 24, 2019
Two days before the fourth anniversary of the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake that devastated the country, the Nepal Reconstruction Authority on Tuesday listed the challenges to the ongoing reconstruction works.
Chief Executive Officer of the NRA Sushil Gyewali said at a press conference that the biggest challenge in reconstruction and rehabilitation was financial management.
The NRA had estimated a budget of Rs 938 billion for its five-year reconstruction and rehabilitation plan; of which, Rs 186 billion was spent by the fiscal year 2017/18.
The revised projected expenditure for the current fiscal year has been set at Rs 123 billion.
“We have expected that around Rs 200 billion will be mobilised through the government's regular budget programme, private and NGO sectors. This shows that we will need an additional Rs 429 billion to complete the overall reconstruction works,” Gyewali said. “The status of reconstruction will depend on our proper financial management. We have started discussing this with the Ministry of Finance and the donors.”
Reshuffling of government employees, which led to the transfer of many experienced reconstruction staff to provincial and local governments; protracted political transition and constitution promulgation process; the border blockade enforced by India; delay in the formation of the reconstruction authority, eight months after the disaster; and frequent changes in the NRA leadership, also affected the post-quake recovery works, according to Gyewali.
The NRA chief also briefed about the progress made by the authority so far.
“Reconstruction of 80 percent of the private houses have been completed in the last four years,” Gyewali said, noting that 382,277 quake-affected households have already moved to their newly built homes and 230,658 households are in the process of completing their new homes.
Similarly, out of 1,197 quake-affected health institutions, 643 (54 percent) have been reconstructed while 145 (12 percent) are currently under reconstruction, Gyewali said.
“In the reconstruction of heritage sites in 11 severely affected districts, the authority has achieved 59 percent progress,” Gyewali said.
According to the NRA, it has achieved 56 percent progress in the reconstruction of buildings for security agencies, while 63 percent of the quake-damaged government buildings have been rebuilt so far.
Gyewali commended the international community for their support in the post-quake recovery works.