Kathmandu, June 16: With the government loosening the lockdown, the reconstruction of private houses in the earthquake-affected districts is gaining momentum after adopting all the necessary security measures.
The work has speeded up after the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) adopted various criteria to control and minimize the impact of coronavirus while undertaking reconstruction activities.
“Some works of reconstruction were going on in few places before as well,” said Manohar Ghimire, Deputy Spokesperson of the NRA. “It has become much easier to resume work after the government decision to loosen up the lockdown.”
With the re-opening of offices from Sunday, the reconstruction work has resumed. “We are gradually getting information on the reconstruction work now,” Ghimire said, adding, “The reconstruction of private housing has resumed in all the places.”
However, the reconstruction has been hampered due to the unavailability of public transportation. Many beneficiaries need to travel to the district headquarters for various reconstruction works, according to Ghimire. “I get calls from the beneficiaries saying they have faced problems getting around the district.”
According to the NRA, the total number of beneficiaries has now reached 832,408 after accommodating those coming from the hearing of the grievances. Almost 500,000 houses have now been constructed while 25 percent of the houses are currently under-construction.
“Out of the total beneficiaries, 95 percent of them have signed agreement,” said Ghimire. “Almost 99 percent of them have received the first tranche while 85 percent have received second tranche and 75 percent have received the third.”
The reconstruction of private houses, except the ones added through grievance hearing, will be completed by mid-January next year, claimed Ghimire. “The new beneficiaries were finalized only in mid-April this year,” he said. “These beneficiaries are yet to sign agreement. The necessary information has been sent to the districts but it will take some time before the local governments start working on it.”
The number of beneficiaries added through the grievance hearing is 106,465.
The reconstruction of private houses has now resumed in all the 32 districts - 14 most-affected and 18 least-affected.
The reconstruction is also on-going in big infrastructures like Dharahara, Singha Durbar, Ranipokhari after adopting all the necessary security measures. The construction works of these infrastructures will speed up now, said Sushil Gyewali, Chief Executive Officer of the NRA. He said it will further speed up after adding up necessary human resources.
He also said that the reconstruction activities in private housing, education, health and heritage sites will now speed up.
The NRA has a working mandate till December 25, 2020. However, it is yet to be decided whether its tenure will be extended or not, even as the reconstruction work will not be complete by then.
By Bimal Khatiwada in Kantipur – June 17, 2020