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‘Local elections for reconstruction’

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

sssFrom the Nepali Press

Karobar daily, 30 March

What is the progress of post-earthquake reconstruction? 

We have developed mechanisms and policies. We now have a structure to work at the grassroot level. People complain about delays, but it was not possible to begin reconstruction without internal preparation.

What is the authority doing now?

We are carrying out a survey to collect and verify the data about damage and earthquake survivors. We have completed 60 per cent of the survey, and we will distribute housing grants as soon as we have the exact data.     

Is it true that the ongoing survey was carried out under pressure from donors?

This survey was necessary because we did not have reliable data about earthquake survivors. The Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report was just a preliminary document, and we had promised during the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction (ICNR) that we would collect reliable data before distributing housing grants. It helps us distribute housing grants among the real survivors, and not the fake ones.

Will earthquake survivors be able to rebuild their houses before the next monsoon? 

I do not want to lie. They will not be able to rebuild their houses before the monsoon, even if we begin distributing housing grants now. It is difficult to manage construction workers because skilled and able-bodied youth are abroad. There is a scarcity of construction materials. I do not want to give them false hope.

Earthquake survivors are saying the Rs 200,000 housing grant is not sufficient.

The amount of the housing grant was determined before I was appointed as the authority chief. The government decided to give each family Rs 200,000, assuming that construction materials and cheaper workers would be available at the local level. If this amount still falls short, they can get a reconstruction loan of up to Rs 300,000 more.

Donors are complaining that the authority has failed to spend the reconstruction budget. 

This is not true. They have in fact lauded our vision. We have so far signed loan agreements amounting to Rs 125 billion. We are preparing to sign another Rs 75 billion loan agreement with India. China is also releasing the money it pledged. The Finance Ministry has already released Rs 65 billion for reconstruction activity.

So what are the challenges?

The biggest challenge is to mobilise people. The lack of elected representatives has made it more difficult for us to work at the grassroot level. If possible, let us hold local elections across the country. If not, let us do it in the 31 earthquake-affected districts. If that is also not possible, let us do it in the 14 most affected districts.


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3 Responses to “‘Local elections for reconstruction’”

  1. Ravi Raj Kaur on Says:

    Just show the houses and the bills. TRANSPARENCY

  2. Shyam Thapa on Says:

    Our hearts are bleeding that the victims of the great quake have not been assisted so far even after a year. When the international communities were ready assist them free the Government denied them the permission to do so. Now the Government thinking of taking loan from international banks and sink the country into further depth. We should laud our planners and policy makers for that. You drive away the benefactors and you do not do any for the victims. It is really deplorable and pathetic on how the country is running. The quake victims are our brothers and sisters. They need houses, schools and clinics which have been damaged at the earliest. Imagine yourself to be one of them.

  3. david seddon on Says:

    the story of government failure to respond adequately to the earthquakes and the aftermath is a scandal. It is being compounded by a continuing failure over more than a year later to provide adequate support and compensation to those who lost their homes and in many cases their livelihoods. The foreign agencies by and large have also failed to exert sufficient pressure on the govt or alternatively to provide their own special funds for reconstruction support. It is a lamentable situation and a terrible reflection on the incapacity and corruption of the political elite. Few come out of this with a reasonable reputation – apart from the Red Cross, the police and a few NGOs. I am deeply concerned, as a long term commentator on the political economy of Nepal and friend of the Nepali people, that Nepal is now a failed state.

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