NRA to organize mason training on massive scale in affected district from mid-Feb
KATHMANDU, Feb 6: The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has said that it will provide the total housing reconstruction grant of Rs 300,000 to earthquake victims whose houses were partially damaged by last year's earthquakes but are willing to go for full reconstruction rather than just repairs.
NRA has decided to provide Rs 100,000 as retrofitting grant in two installments for those whose houses were partially damaged by earthquake.
Talking to a group of journalists at his office on Sunday, NRA Chief Executive Officer Govinda Raj Pokharel informed that the recently amended NRA grant distribution directives provide for those victims willing to construct new earthquake resilient houses rather than just retrofit their damaged houses will be given the full housing grant of Rs 300,000 in place of Rs 100,000.
According to NRA, around 200,000 earthquake victims in the 14 most quake-affected districts have been processed for the retrofitting grant of Rs 100,000. NRA has already made public a list of names of around 17,000 quake victims and asked them to come forward for signing the grant agreements with the local authorities and take the first installment of Rs 50,000. But it is yet to begin the grant distribution.
"The directives are now more flexible. Earthquake victims whose houses were only partially damaged but wish to demolish completely and construct anew can now apply for Rs 300, 000," he said, adding that the status of their properties can be changed from partially damaged to totally damaged if they so wish.
According to NRA, the victims will be asked what kind of grant agreement they wish to enter into before signing the document.
He further said the amended directives also allow a reverse option for earthquake victims whose houses were completely destroyed, making them eligible for the Rs 300,000 grant. They can now enter into a new agreement with the local authorities to change the status of their property from completely destroyed to partially damaged..
"Victims who have signed up for Rs 300,000 but now no longer wish to demolish their houses entirely but rather retrofit them into earthquake-resilient structures can apply for the retrofit grant of Rs 100, 000," NRA chief Pokharel added.
NRA deputy spokesperson Bhishma Kumar Bhusal said that those signing up for Rs 300,000 and have already received the first installment of Rs 50,000 but are yet to begin the reconstruction work can contact the local authorities immediately and change over to the retrofit grant.
But whether it is retrofitting or rebuilding anew, the grant recepients should strictly follow the construction designs in order to get a further installment of the grant.
Pokharel further said that NRA is planning to launch a massive training campaign in all the villages of the earthquake-hit districts from mid-February to tackle the shortage of skilled masons. He said NRA is into internal preparations to train up to 150,000 masons in the next two months.
For lack of construction workers, barely six percent out of the total number of 459,887 earthquake victims receiving the first installment of the reconstruction grant in the 14 most-affected districts have started reconstruction work so far.