NRA gets Rs 145.93b for ’17-18Despite sluggish progress in the post-quake reconstruction, the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) will have a larger budget at its disposal for the next fiscal year.
Despite sluggish progress in the post-quake reconstruction, the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) will have more funds at its disposal for the next fiscal year.
A meeting of the NRA Steering Committee on Wednesday approved a budget amounting to Rs145.93 billion for the fiscal year 2017-18, an increment of 31 percent on the current fiscal year.
The government had allocated around Rs111 billion for the fiscal year 2016-17. However, the NRA spent only Rs42.42 billion due to sluggish progress in the reconstruction drive.
The 10th steering committee meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba also directed the NRA to expedite the reconstruction drive, making a decision to specify time for distributing grant for the construction of private homes. It has also authorised the NRA to open eight contact offices that will look after 17 earthquake affected districts on top of those already in place in the 14 worst-hit districts for facilitating the reconstruction process.
The meeting has also endorsed an authority’s working plan that has designated specific time for different rebuilding activities.
Stating that a crucial policy bottleneck has been addressed by the steering committee, NRA officials promise of a substantial progress in the next fiscal. “The budget for the upcoming fiscal is flexible as the size of recurrent expenditure has increased. The budget enables us to short out issues that may surface as the work progresses,” NRA Chief Executive Govind Raj Pokharel said. He explained that the authority prepared the working plan with emphasis on increasing income, investigation of construction technology and materials, geology and gender and social inclusion apart from participatory approach in the reconstruction process.
Based on the working plan, the NRA will have to identify households under threat and beneficiaries by August 2018. Grant agreement with earthquake survivors, who wish to relocate on their own, should be completed by mid-October 2017. The NRA has so far identified 112 settlements in Selang of Sindhupalchok, Keraunja of Gorkha, Khalde of Rasuwa, Urleni of Nuwakot and Besimpa of Dolakha as the vulnerable zones. Quake survivors living in those areas are being resettled in integrated settlements.
According to Pokharel, construction of around 40,000 earthquake resilient houses have been completed, while over 110,000 homes are under construction. “Over 150,000 households will have roof before Dashain festival,” he assured. Besides, the NRA has aimed to complete construction of 1,000 schools in the second phase by mid-December 2017, 2,000 schools in the third phase by mid-December 2018 and 1,000 schools in the fourth phase by mid-December 2019. The 2015 Gorkha Earthquake have had severe impact on schools. Only 2,100 schools have been rebuilt, according to the NRA.
The authority also plans to complete reconstruction of health facilities in the next three years. Reconstruction of 230 such facilities has been completed so far, while 140 are under construction.
The authority will be launching a pilot programme for preserving ancient, indigenous settlements and heritage sites in places like Sankhu, Bungamati, Khokana, Nuwakot, Gorkha and Dolkha in the fiscal year 2017-18.
Resources for reconstruction
Budget for next fiscal (2017-18) Rs145.93 billion
Budget for this fiscal (2016-17) Rs111 billion
Budget spent this fiscal (2016-17) Rs42.42 billion
Budget for last fiscal (2015-16) Rs83.83 billion
Budget spent this fiscal (2015-16) Rs4.20 billion