KATHMANDU, Aug 17: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has started discussions with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to increase the house reconstruction grant to be provided to the earthquake victims to Rs 300,000 from Rs 200,000 each.
Chakrapani Khanal, political advisor to the prime minister, said that Prime Minister Dahal held a meeting with officials of the ministry on Tuesday and discussed how the grant amount announced for the quake victims can be increased to Rs 300,000.
“As the grant amount of Rs 200,000 is not sufficient to rebuild the damaged houses and the grant distribution process is already facing delay, the prime minister discussed with the ministry officials possible ways for arranging additional Rs 100,000 per victim,” he told Republica.
He said that the prime minister, who is also the chairman of the steering committee of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), will hold further discussions with officials of the NRA and other concerned ministries for increasing the grant amount before making a formal decision from the cabinet.
A source close to the prime minister who was present at the meeting said that finance ministry officials told the prime minister that they will discuss the issue with donors. “The ministry has been asked to hold discussion with donors as well as make financial arrangements from its internal resources to provide the additional grant of Rs 100,000,” the source said.
The source said that the government will make decisions on amending the directive and other working procedures related to grant amount distribution for increasing the grant amount at the upcoming cabinet meeting. If the government makes formal decision on the matter, the quake victims may get Rs 50,000 in the first installment, Rs 150,000 in the second and Rs 100,000 in the final installment, according to the source.
“The prime minister will hold discussion on increasing the grant amount to Rs 300,000 with ministers in the next cabinet meeting and reach a decision on the matter,” the prime minister's political advisor Khanal said.
As many as 533,454 house owners in 11 districts have been identified as eligible for receiving the house reconstruction grant.