'NRN in facilitation role for reconstruction'

Kathmandu, Nov. 18: The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) chief executive officer Sushil Gyawali Thursday said that the government would support the quake-affected families in building their houses but would not build any houses for them.

His statement came amidst the mounting criticisms of the government for its failure to reconstruct the houses damaged in the devastating earthquakes in April and May last year.

“The NRA has signed contract with the Nepal Red Cross Society and other national and international humanitarian organisations for building the private houses. They have pledged Rs. 44 billion for the reconstruction of about 20,000 houses. But, approximately 1 million quake-ravaged houses are to be reconstructed,” Gyawali said.

He said that it would take decades in reconstruction if the government got involved in the construction of houses.

According to Gyawali, the government should follow the principle of equity and therefore, it couldn’t build houses for selected people or community.

“Instead, it facilitates to provide house construction grants to the people and the smooth supply of construction materials.

After the devastating earthquake in 2001 in Gujrat, the Gujrat government did not reconstruct the private structures but developed a policy to carry out a community-driven recovery process.

The government gave the quake-affected communities options for complete or partial reconstruction and relocation.

He was addressing a national dialogue on ‘the role of the private sector in post-disaster recovery of Nepal’ organised by the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) and United Nations-Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) in Lalitpur.

Gyawali said that the household in the quake-affected area will have sufficient funds to reconstruct their houses as they would receive Rs. 300,000 as grant and concessional loans would be mobilised to Rs. 1.5 million and Rs. 2.5 million for each rural and urban family respectively.

He stated that the government couldn’t complete the reconstruction works without support from the private sector, civil society and international agencies.

“Therefore, the NRA has got them engaged from the very beginning. Now we want the private sector to assist the reconstruction drive with the creation of skilled labour force. I also would like to urge them for the sufficient production of quality construction materials,” he said.

Minister for Supplies Deepak Bohara said that the government should closely work with the private sector and development partners in order to speed up the reconstruction process.

“The private sector has better management ability which should be used in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of quake damaged structures,” he said.

CNI president Hari Bhakta Sharma urged the stakeholders to join hands in creating resilient and sustainable society.

He stated that the private sector involved in the post-quake relief and rehabilitation works beyond its corporate social responsibility.

He criticised the government for charging taxes on the money deposited to the Prime Minister Disaster Relief Funds in the previous fiscal year of 2014/15.

CNI president emeritus Binod Chaudhary said that the private sector was sensitive about minimising the impact of natural disaster like earthquake.

He stated that the Chaudhary Foundation had built temporary houses, schools and launched programmes for skill development, health and drinking water.

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