March 13, 2016
Eleven months after the devastating earthquake, the National Reconstruction Authority is signing housing reconstruction grants with the displaced families as part of its final preparations to distribute the government-announced cash to the homeless.
Quake survivors of six VDCs in Dolakha will be the first to get the aid. The NRA is issuing the first instalment of the Rs200,000 package from the Singati Resource Centre to the households in the VDCs including Lamidanda, Ladun, Chankhu, Suri and Bulu.
The Singati Centre has recorded 5,300 households as “genuine victims”. More than 3,000 of the households have opened bank accounts to receive the grants.
Nepal Investment Bank and Rastriya Banijya Bank are scheduled to sign grant contracts with the quake-displaced on Sunday. An NRA team led by Chief Executive Officer Sushil Gyewali has reached Singati to oversee the distribution of aid for rebuilding homes.
“Authorities will begin depositing housing reconstruction aid to the banks in which the beneficiaries have opened their accounts,” said NRA Spokesperson Suresh Adhikari.
The NRA has set aside Rs260 million for Dolakha from the Rs65 billion allocated by the government for housing reconstruction.
Although the government has announced to provide Rs200,000 in addition to a subsidised bank loan to each family rendered homeless, only Rs50,000 will be provided to the victims in the first phase. The second instalment of Rs80,000 will be given after approval of their housing design and the remaining Rs70,000 upon completion of reconstruction. The NRA plans to expand the aid distribution process after its piloting in Dolakha. NRA Spokesperson Adhikari hinted that aid distribution in other affected districts will take more time as they are yet to reach agreements with banks.
“In Singati, the DFID-funded Sakshyam Access to Finance Programme supports us. There is no extra cost for the authority for distributing money there. But we need to reach agreements with banks while distributing funds through the banking channel,” said Adhikari.
The NRA is yet to agree on the service fee that the banks are demanding. The body responsible for post-quake rehabilitation is facing criticism for delaying aid distribution, thereby holding the reconstruction process. It argues that the mandatory detailed damage assessment for providing aid only to genuine victims had lengthened the process.
The Central Bureau of Statics has deployed 1,475 engineers in 11 quake-ravaged districts at the NRA’s request. The survey has not yet begun in the three districts of Kathmandu Valley as the authorities are yet to finalise the criteria to enlist houses as “fully destroyed”.
Source: The Kathmandu Post, Bhadra Sharma. Published: 13-03-2016 08:59