NRA staff agree to return to workThe protesting technical staff of the National Reconstruction Authority, who announced their collective resignation last week, have decided to return to work after the government assured them of addressing their demands.
The protesting technical staff of the National Reconstruction Authority, who announced their collective resignation last week, have decided to return to work after the government assured them of addressing their demands.
In a meeting with government officials on Sunday, representatives of the 1,200 engineers, overseers and sub-overseers from 11 worst quake-hit districts agreed to resume works to facilitate the rebuilding of private houses after the authorities agreed to address their demands.
“We started moving to the respective districts from Monday. Almost everyone will be on the field by Tuesday,” said Sanjib Amgai, an engineer working in Gorkha.
According to him, the technical staff decided to call off their protest and revoke their decision to resign en masse after the authorities agreed to raise their allowances by 75 percent, provide health insurance, proper office facilities and security.
The two sides also agreed to address the complaints of the needy families in the districts and to approve the amended draft guidelines for distributing the second and third tranches of the rebuilding aid to more than 700,000 homeless families.
The Central Level Project Implementation Unit under the Ministry of Urban Development and the Ministry of Finance, along with the NRA, all responsible for carrying out post-earthquake reconstruction works, met with the technical staff to hear their grievances.
“The engineers and other technical staff have agreed to return to work. We hope the rebuilding works, along with the monitoring of the under-construction housing structures in the affected districts, will be expedited now onwards,” said Chandra Shrestha, an executive member of the NRA.
According to him, the proposal to increase allowances based on performance, health insurance and office facilities had already been approved. It would be implemented after the nod from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Around 2,400 engineers and technical staff were mobilised after the disaster to facilitate the rebuilding of quake-resistant houses in affected settlements.
Quake victims in Palpa await aid
PALPA, DEC 26
Even as the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has decided to collect electronic data of the earthquake victims in Palpa district until February, hundreds of quake victims in the district are bracing for another winter under the temporary huts.
Quake survivor Umesh Gaha of Salahakot-9 said the majority of the families displaced by last year’s devastating quake have been living under the temporary huts for almost two years. “There are 55 families living under temporary shelters in Koldanda and 49 in Salahakot,” said Gaha.
The conditions of quake victims in Galdha, Kaseni and Jalpa, among other areas, are no different. Rudra Bahadur Sunari, a quake victim from Galdha-1, said they are struggling with cold and extreme heat under the huts for the last 20 months. “Some of the people have built houses on their own, but most of the victims are still waiting for the housing reconstruction aid,” he said.
Palpa is among the 17 districts that the NRA categorised as having suffered minimum damages in the disaster. The quake victims in the district are in a dilemma whether to rebuild houses themselves or wait for government help.
According to the district-based statistics office, the electronic data collection will be conducted until February 26.
Anirudra Upadhaya, an official at the statistics office, said they are going to start collecting data by mobilising 32 engineers in 60 VDCs and two municipalities. Citing the District Natural Disaster Rescue Committee record, Chief District Officer Baburam Gautam said around 11,345 families were affected by the quake.