KATHMANDU, May 9: The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has asked the government to request the Indian side to simplify the procedures for the grant and loan aid pledged by the Indian government after the earthquake in 2015, during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to Nepal.
The NRA request comes amid its failure to receive even a single tranche of the pledged amount due to procedural difficulties and delay on the part of the Indian side. NRA officials made the request to senior Finance Ministry officials during a meeting held at the Finance Ministry on Tuesday.
Right after the quake disaster in 2015, India had pledged USD 1,000 million in assistance including USD 750 million in soft loan for post-quake reconstruction. Spokesperson of NRA Yam Lal Bhusal said that NRA has asked the Ministry of Finance to request the Indian side during the Indian PM’s visit to ease and expedite the process of releasing the pledged reconstruction aid.
“First of all, the process of releasing the grant amount of USD 250 million has been delayed.
Similarly, even though the Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank) in Mumbai has issued a Line of Credit for the USD 750 million soft loan, NRA has not been able to utilize it in reconstruction work due to the complicated procedures involved. So, we have asked the ministry to request the Indian side during Indian Prime Minister’s visit to simplify the overall process and release the pledged aid as early as possible,” he said. The LoC for the soft loan was brought into effect by India on February 24, 2017.
NRA has been issuing housing grants to 50,000 beneficiaries in Gorkha and Nuwakot from its internal sources as the Indian side is yet to release its grant aid. Even though NRA has forwarded the expenditure details to the Indian side for reimbursement, it is yet to get the amount.
As per the understanding reached between Nepal and India, the Indian side had agreed to reconstruct over 300 schools in the 31 earthquake-hit districts. India had pledged to provide a total of US$ 750 million in soft loan to reconstruct up to 10 schools in each of the affected districts and also reconstruct various damaged heritage sites, among other things.
Due to the delay on the part of the Indian side in releasing the pledged amount, the Ministry of Education has already rebuilt 100 out of 300 schools meant to be constructed with Indian assistance. The task of heritage sites reconstruction is still in limbo due to the delay.
“Ensuring the early release of the reconstruction aid pledged by India will be a major agenda item during the bilateral talks with the Indian prime minister,” Bhusal said.