KATHMANDU, July 1: Disputes over jurisdiction between Social Welfare Council and National Reconstruction Authority on approval of reconstruction works to be done by the International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) have resulted in confusion among the INGOs involved in reconstruction works.
Based on the clause that allows NRA to mobilize political parties, NGOs, community organizations, international donor agencies and INGOs in accordance with the policies of the government, the authority has been approving the proposals of INGOs for the reconstruction in 31 earthquake-hit districts.
However, this role of NRA has been criticized by SWC as an act of 'breaching its jurisdiction'.
“The law allows NRA just to facilitate reconstruction works carried out by the INGOs,” said Hari Tiwari, acting director for NGO Coordination Section at the Social Welfare Council.
“NRA has already approved reconstruction projects submitted by more than 100 NGOs,” he said, adding that those NGOs should take approval again from the SWC as per the existing laws.
The NRA officials, however, term the stand taken by the SWC as impractical and a hindrance to the urgency of reconstruction works. “Approval of reconstruction related projects by NRA should not be taken as a breach of SWC's jurisdiction,” Ram Prasad Thapaliya, spokesperson at the authority told Republica.
NRA needs to mobilize domestic and foreign NGOs in an effective and coordinated manner, according to Thapaliya. “The authority started issuing approval to end the problem of duplication in reconstruction works and to keep the record of resources mobilized in reconstruction works.”
The jurisdiction is very clear that that SWC issues general agreement and NRA issues project agreement, that also to those INGOs that seek permission to launch reconstruction projects in 31 earthquake-affected districts, Thapaliya informed.
“The authority has developed a model of tripartite agreement involving concerned INGOs, project activities related line ministries and the authority to avoid duplication in reconstruction works,” he said.
This is temporary arrangement and the responsibility will automatically go to the SWC after 5 years when NRA will dissolve, he said. After the dispute between two agencies reached boiling point, the NRA has demanded to place a separate desk of SWC on the premise of the authority, according to Madhu Prasad Regmi, secretary at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare.
“This kind of ambiguity over the roles of two agencies over the pertaining issues should be ended soon,” he said.
INGOs that have been working on the reconstruction projects say have been facing difficulties due to jurisdiction row between the two agencies. “INGOs are forced to take project approval from two agencies that is time consuming and full of hassles,” an official at the Association of INGO told Republica.
INGOs and NGOs had spent Rs 4.53 billion and 1.52 billion respectively in relief and recovery within three months of earthquake, according to the SWC. Their spending on reconstruction after that will be compiled soon, the council said.