KATHMANDU, Aug 8: Following the formation of the new government, confusion has surfaced over the distribution of housing grant to be provided to earthquake victims whose houses were completely damaged by the last year earthquakes.
Prime Minster Pushpa Kamal Dahal, while assuming office on Thursday, had directed National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) and other concerned authorities to take necessary steps for distributing Rs 50,000, the first installment of the grant amount to be provided to all the victims whose houses were completely damaged by the earthquakes, by the next 45 days.
Later, a cabinet meeting had endorsed a decision in that regard.
However, the NRA has insisted on continuing with its plan of distributing the first installment to the quake victims in the 11 districts worst hit by the earthquakes as the survey for identifying eligible quake victims has been completed only in those districts.
Some NRA officials said that Prime Minister Dahal's direction to distribute the first installment grant amount in 31 districts by the next 45 days was impractical and a decision in haste.
“When the NRA has carried out damage assessment survey for grant distribution only in the 11 districts, out of the total 31 districts, it is impossible to distribute the first installment to quake victims in all the 31 districts within the set deadline. The prime minister's direction in this regard is completely impractical,” Deputy Spokesperson Bhishma Kumar Bhusal said.
“The damage assessment survey in the three districts of the valley is still underway, while we are yet to launch a similar survey in other 17 quake-affected districts. On top of that, the survey in itself is a time consuming process, which takes more than two months,” he said.
An official who did not want to be named said that Prime Minister Dahal's direction to distribute the grant amount in all the 31 districts within 45 days was a result of a lack of proper consultation with the NRA before making the decision.
According to NRA, it has expedited its work to distribute the first installment to the total 533,454 house owners identified as eligible for the grant amount in the 11 quake-affected districts.