KATHMANDU, March 9: The Indian government has signed partnership agreements worth US$ 16.2 million with two United Nations bodies to provide technical support for the reconstruction of 50,000 houses in Gorkha and Nuwakot districts.
The agreements were signed with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) amid a function in the capital on Thursday. As per the agreements, the Indian government will provide US$ 8.76 million to UNDP and US$ 7.41 million to UNOPS to provide technical support to the earthquake victims to rebuild their houses in the two districts. While the UNDP will provide technical support to rebuild 26,912 houses in Gorkha, UNOPS will cover 23,088 houses in Nuwakot.
Socio-technical teams from the UNDP and UNOPS will assist homeowners in reconstructing their houses as per the earthquake resistant standards set by the government, according to a press statement issued by the Indian Embassy. The statement further stated that the UN bodies will also guide victims through the inspection and certification process at different stages of construction to ensure that the houses pass quake-safety compliance tests.
The UNOPS in its statement stated that the UN body will deploy trained engineers, architects, masons and community facilitators to help the victims in rebuilding safer and code-compliant structures.
Indian ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri during the function said that the partnership with the UN bodies “will enhance the availability of technical know-how and expertise to houses in the two districts to reconstruct their homes with earthquake resilient features.”
Chief Executive Officer of National Reconstruction Authority Yuba Raj Bhusal was also present during the signing of the agreements.
India has yet to release the pledged grant of US$ 250 million and a soft loan of US$ 750 to the government of Nepal announced after the 2015 earthquakes. NRA officials said they are hopeful that the amount will be released soon as the agreements have been signed. Due to the delay on the part of the Indian side, NRA had distributed the housing grant to the earthquake victims in the two districts from its internal sources.
Over 60 percent of the victims in the two districts where India was supposed to provide the housing grant have already received the second tranche and many are in the process of receiving the third one.
Of the total 65,791 victims eligible for housing grant in Nuwakot, 65,664 have already received the first tranche while 32,097 have received the second tranche. A total of 3,305 victims have also received the third tranche. Likewise, in Gorkha, all 57,286 eligible victims have received the first tranche, 22,939 victims have received the second tranche while 5,613 victims have received the third tranche.