May 30, 2017 12:30 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, May 30: The government in the new budget for the Fiscal Year 2017/18 has earmarked Rs 146 billion to expedite post-earthquake-recovery programs across the earthquake-affected districts.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Krishna Bahadur Mahara on Monday has earmarked Rs 146.18 billion for the reconstruction and recovery programs that have been running through different ministries and the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA).
The government also aims to expedite the post-disaster recovery work by upgrading the capacity of government bodies. He assured that they will speed up the post-quake reconstruction efforts and complete the works within stipulated time.
“The government has been focusing on expediting the distribution of housing grants, rebuilding of heritage and cultural sites, renovating trekking routes, expediting training program for masons for building earthquake-resilient-house and relocating vulnerable settlements to the safer zones,” said Mahara.
The NRA had estimated that it will need around Rs 146 billion for the recovery plans. Officials at NRA have informed that the government has so far released Rs 128 billion budgets for the same purpose.
“The budget came as per our demand. It seems that the Ministry of Finance is very serious about the post disaster recovery work in the affected districts,” said Govinda Raj Pokharel, chief executive officer (CEO) of the NRA.
Pokharel said that from the budget speech the NRA is hopeful that it will be able to implement its plans. “Almost 35 percent victims have already started building their house so far,” he said. “This also helps to accelerate distribution of the grant to the earthquake survivors.”
He also said that they have planned to produce trained manpower to expedite the reconstruction work.
According to NRA, so far the government has distributed the first tranche of Rs 50,000 to 559,657 victims out of the total 725,190 identified as eligible for the grant across 31 quake-affected districts.
However, work on distributing the second tranche of Rs 150,000 and third of Rs 100,000 is moving in a snail's pace.