March 28, 2017 12:30 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, March 28: Just five percent of the earthquake victims who received the first tranche of the reconstruction grant have applied for the second tranche within the deadline set by the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA).
To expedite reconstruction works in the 14 most-affected districts, the NRA on February 23 asked the victims who had already received the first tranche for rebuilding their houses destroyed in the April 2015 earthquake, to apply for the second tranche by Monday.
“It is not mandatory to follow our deadline but the initiative was launched with the hope of expediting reconstruction in the quake-hit districts,” Govinda Raj Pokharel, Chief Executive Officer of NRA, told Republica.
According to an NRA official, of the total 544,996 victims who have received the first tranche, only 24, 321 quake victims have applied for the second tranche as of Monday. “Very few victims have applied for the second tranche as the government started distributing the second tranche since mid-January.
About 2,500 victims have received the second tranche of Rs 150, 000 so far,” said the official.
As of now, of the total 626,695 victims eligible for the reconstruction grant, 42,058 have already started rebuilding their houses. Of the total identified victims, the government has distributed the first tranche of Rs 50,000 of the total Rs 300,000 reconstruction grant to 544,996 victims while the government has been too slow in providing the second and third tranche of Rs 150,000 and Rs 100,000, respectively.
Pokharel blamed the quake victims' failure to comply with the government criteria to reconstruct their houses for the slow pace of the distribution of the reconstruction grant.
“After completing the construction of the foundation, house owners are eligible to apply for the second tranche and the structures should meet government criteria. Only after that, the engineers deployed in the affected areas will recommend for the second tranche,” said Pokharel. “Complying with the criteria in the rural villages has become a big headache for the victims. Now, the NRA is planning to revise the criteria for the victims to ease the process.”
He also attributed the delay in rebuilding the quake-destroyed houses in the rural areas to the lack of necessary technical human resources.
CEO Pokharel informed Republica that the NRA has started preparations to ease the criteria set by the government last year to build quake-resilient houses.
“It is very hard to implement the existing criteria in all areas. So, we should revise the criteria, changing some provisions,” Pokharel said.