NRA seeks army, police manpower for reconstruction

Published On: January 19, 2017 12:10 AM NPT By: Sangeet Sangroula  | @SangeetJourno

KATHMANDU, Jan 19: Amid concerns that the post-quake reconstruction efforts failed to gain momentum due to lack of human resources, the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has initiated discussion with Nepal Army (NA) and Armed Police Force (APF) to involve security personnel and expedite post-quake reconstruction efforts in various quake-hit districts. 

Newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer of NRA Govinda Raj Pokharel said that the authority has initiated discussions with the two security agencies on the possibility and modality of their involvement in the reconstruction efforts.  

"We have initiated discussions with the security agencies as their involvement can really be instrumental in expediting the reconstruction efforts. The agencies are positive and we have requested them to come up with a detailed plan on possible areas where they can supprot the authority in its reconstructio efforts," he said. CEO Pokharel had met with NA and APF officials three days ago. 

Deputy spokesperson of NRA Bhishma Kumar Bhusal said that the NRA has scheduled another round of meeting with NA on Friday at the former's office where the NA is likely to chart out its plan on how and in which sectors the security agency can help.  

We have initiated discussions with the security agencies as their involvement can really be instrumental in expediting the reconstruction efforts.

-- NRA CEO Govinda Pokharel

Bhusal said that the NRA is holding talks with the security agencies for their involvement in masons training and other construction-related activities in the first phase. 

"In lack of sufficient and skilled construction workers, a large number of earthquake victims have not been able to construct houses in the earthquake-hit districts despite receiving the first installment from the government months ago. So, our efforts to seek support from the two security agencies will be mainly for resolving the manpower shortage problem," he said, adding, "The agencies can also support the authority by providing various other logistical as well as manpower support in other reconstruction-related activities as well. So, the NRA and the security agencies are exploring the possible areas where all the three bodies can work jointly and expedite the works." 

As many as 476,813 households have already received the first tranche of Rs 50,000 a few months ago but only as many as 20,879 news houses are currently being reconstructed in the earthquake-hit districts, according to NRA.   

The NRA had aimed to train and produce as many as 60,000 construction workers for the reconstruction works in the affected districts in the current fiscal year but as of now, the NRA has provided training to only 15,000 workers. 

"And on top of that, many of the trained workers have left the country for foreign employment. So, lack of construction workers is a really serious issue which the NRA wants to resolve through the help of security agencies" Bhusal said.    

Last week, the NRA had decided to deploy final year engineering students to the affected districts to assist the engineers deployed by the government to oversee and facilitate the victims in constructing earth-quake resilient houses.  

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