Kathmandu, September 21: The meeting of the Steering Committee of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) held today has recommended one year extension to the NRA. The 17th meeting of the NRA Steering Committee held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in Baluwatar decided to recommend to the cabinet to extend one year tenure to the NRA.
The NRA’s current five years tenure ends on December 25 this year.
Chief Executive Officer of the NRA Sushil Gyewali informed that though important works have been completed, it decided to extend the tenure as the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the reconstruction of private housing and cultural monuments like Dharahara.
As per the discussions held at the meeting, the NRA would continue its work and complete reconstruction activities within six months of the extended tenure, i.e. mid-July 2021, and the remaining period will be spent on clearing accounts, handover any remaining works to the concerned government agencies and local governments and also handover the necessary documents.
The meeting also entrusted the responsibility on the NRA to revise the timeline for the beneficiaries to receive the government’s reconstruction and retrofitting grant to complete the private housing reconstruction within this fiscal year 2077/78.
The 2072 Act on the reconstruction of earthquake-affected structures had given five years tenure to the NRA with a provision to extend it for one year or handover the remaining works to the concerned government agencies if the reconstruction works are not completed.
The Committee meeting has also approved the revised budget of Rs. 488 billion and programs. The remaining reconstruction works will be complete within this budget allocation and the works that are outside the plan will be handed over to the concerned governments.
The meeting approved a report presented by the working committee formed by the 16th meeting of the NRA Steering Committee held on January 13 this year and decided to extend the tenure and also approved the revised budget and programs.
The Working Committee had the NRA CEO as its chair and secretaries of the concerned ministries as members. Besides recommending tenure extension and revising budget and programs, the Committee had also revised organizational structure and recognized concerned agencies to handover remaining works.
The Steering Committee has also allowed NRA to prepare for an international conference, virtual or in person, from April 23 to 25 next year.
The meeting allowed NRA to prepare and implement a master plan to develop the central prison at Tripureswar as the museum of democratic movement and struggle.
The meeting directed the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA) to take the lead on the relocation and reconstruction of houses for the landslide victims in flood and landslides affected areas, including Sindhupalchowk, which had been badly affected this monsoon. The NRA would share its experience on relocation with the NDRRMA.
Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli praised NRA for encouraging work even during the pandemic and lockdown. He directed the NRA to complete its given works within the current fiscal year and suggested to give due focus on the documentation of its activities.
Saying that the post-earthquake reconstruction is a common work plan of all the people, Balkrishna Khand, Chief Whip of the main opposition Nepali Congress, said that one year extension for the NRA was necessary due to the impact of the pandemic which affected the overall reconstruction works. “The rights of the beneficiaries to receive the government grant for reconstruction must be ensured,” he said.
Member of the NRA Steering Committee and Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, Vice-Chairperson of the National Planning Commission Professor Pushparaj Kandel, Chief Economic Advisor of the Prime Minister and outgoing Finance Minister Dr. Yubaraj Khatiwada and Chief Secretary Lok Darshan Regmi were present at the Steering Committee meeting.
Also present were Secretary of the NRA Ramkrishna Sapkota, secretaries of various ministries and NRA Steering Committee members Dr. Taranidhi Bhattarai, Kishor Thapa and Nimananda Rijal. Besides NRA Executive Committee Members Dhruba Prasad Sharma, Dr. Chandra Bahadur Shrestha and Dr. Hariram Parajuli, the Chief Executive of the NDRRMA, Anil Pokharel, were also present at the meeting.