GYAN P NEUPANE
KATHMANDU, Oct 18: As earthquake victims who have received the first tranche of the house reconstruction grant are gearing up to rebuild their houses, the government has started preparations to set up ‘construction materials banks’ at various places in the 11 earthquake-affected districts for the convenience of the victims. These ‘banks’ or depots will have adequate stock of construction materials, which will be sold to the victims at reasonable rates, officials said.
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has initiated discussions with the line ministries and other concerned bodies for setting up such depots at various locations in the 11 districts. In August, the parliament’s Development Committee had asked the NRA to set up such depots for the convenience of the quake victims.
According to NRA spokesman Ram Prasad Thapaliya, NRA is holding talks with the officials of the Ministry of Supply and Salt Trading Corporation Limited (STCL) for supplying construction materials to such depots. He also informed that STCL will come up with a plan for setting up the depots.
“As per the development committee’s directive, we are working to set up such depots but we have yet to decide their numbers,” he said.
“The victims can easily get construction materials from such depots. Such depots will be established focussing people from remote areas so that they don’t have to walk long distances,” he said, adding, the depots are being established also to prevent the possible black market in construction materials.
He informed that the depots will sell cement, steel rods, rocks, aggregate and sand among other construction materials at reasonable rates.
“We are working to submit our distribution plan to the NRA within this week,” Urmila Shrestha, general manager of the STLC, told Republica. “We will open the depots at locations that are convenient for quake victims from remote areas.”
According to the government’s latest data, so far it has distributed the first tranche of Rs 50,000 in housing grant to 420,882 house owners out of 533,182 who lost their houses to the earthquakes. The government will distribute another Rs 250,000 in next two tranches after the victims complete the construction of the foundation for their houses.
First appeared in Republica national daily