Finance ministry asked to work out subsidized loan scheme
KATHMANDU, Feb 18: The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has decided to provide the total grant of Rs 300,000 in lump sum to the earthquake victims who have been identified as eligible for the grant amount but have already constructed their houses on their own.
However, the NRA has put a condition that the houses construted by the victims must meet NRA's earthquake-resilient construction criteria.
A meeting of the NRA's executive committee headed by Chief Executive Officer Govinda Raj Pokharel decided to provide Rs 300,000 in lump sum to the eligible victims who constructed their house on their own in line with NRA's construction criteria, NRA spokesperson Yam Lal Bhusal informed.
He said that the house owners who have been identified as eligible but have yet to sign grant agreement and those eligibles who have already signed grant agreements but have not received the first installment, will be given Rs 300,000 in lump sum if their constructed houses meet NRA construction criteria.
"Today's decision has formally paved the way for distributing the grant to the eligible victims who are constructing the houses on their own," Bhusal added.
The NRA has formally appealed to the eligible house owners who are constructing houses on their own to immediately contact their VDC or municipality and initiate necessary process for claiming the grant amount.
"Once the house owners apply for the grant, our engineers will inspect if the houses meet our construction criteria or not. And the victims whose constructions meet the NRA criteria will be provided the grant without delay," Bhusal said.
In all the 31 earthquake-affected districts, many eligible victims have already constructed their houses on their own due to delay by the NRA in distributing the first installment of Rs 50,000. However, the NRA has no record of the eligible victims who have constructed houses on their own. The NRA records show that as many as 41,311 houses have already been constructed in the 31 earthquake-hit districts and, NRA officials say, majority of the houses were constructed by the victims without the grant.
Similarly, the executive committee decided to request the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development to develop a time-bound action plan for distribution of the first installment on time as the damage assessment survey to identify eligible victims in the remaining 17 districts is in the final stages.
Likewise, the committee also decided to request the Ministry of Finance to start necessary initiatives to help provide the victims subsidized loans as promised by the government.
Nepal Rastra Bank had announced that a quake-hit family can borrow up to Rs 2.5 million in the Kathmandu Valley and Rs 1.5 million in other quake-hit districts from different banks and financial institutions at subsidized interest rate of 2 percent. Such loans will be refinanced by the central bank at zero percent interest. But only 317 earthquake victims have acquired the loan so far due to reluctance on the part of various financial institutions in issuing the loan. The financial institutions have said there are confusions over the criteria and procedures for issuing the subsidized loan.