GYAN P NEUPANE
KATHMANDU, March 20: Although the government started distributing the second tranche of the reconstruction grant some four months ago, less than one percent of the earthquake victims have taken the amount so far.
According to the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), only 1,438 of the total 533,842 households who took the first tranche of the reconstruction grant have received the second tranche as of Friday (March 17). The number of households receiving the third tranche of the grant stands at a meager 67.
Officials attribute the lack of necessary technical as well as other human resources and the failure of the quake victims to comply with the government criteria to reconstruct their houses behind the slow pace of the distribution of the reconstruction grant.
NRA chief executive officer Prof Dr Govinda Raj Pokharel said the delay is also caused due to the fact that the engineers, who were deployed for monitoring houses under construction, have quit their jobs in a number of areas. “A large number of engineers deployed for monitoring the rebuilding of houses in the affected areas have abruptly quit their jobs in various parts of the affected areas,” Pokharel told Republica.
A recommendation certificate by the engineers concerned after monitoring is a must to facilitate the release of the second tranche of the grant. The NRA initially had deployed around 2,600 engineers in the affected districts to monitor the houses being rebuilt by the victims.
While Rs 50,000 was distributed as the first tranche of the reconstruction grant, the NRA is providing Rs 150,000 as the second tranche. Quake victims receive Rs 100,000 as the third tranche of the grant once they complete building their houses as per the guideline set by the NRA.
Officials said the delay in the distribution of the second tranche of the reconstruction grant is also caused due to the failure of the victims to meet the criteria. These victims have been piling up pressure through political leaders for the release of the second tranche of the grant.
“Almost one-third of the total victims have not started rebuilding their homes even after receiving the first tranche. This could also have caused this delay,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.
First appeared in Republica national daily.