Reconstruction Drive

The country has marked the third anniversary of the Gorkha Earthquake that killed more than 9,000 people, injured many more and destroyed houses and property worth billions. The day reminds us the vulnerability of human beings before natural disasters. The Earth on which we live is in the constant seismic motion. Beneath it lie moving tectonic plates - big and small. As they meet or collide with each other, they create geological events, such as earthquake and volcanic eruptions. The scientists have succeeded to grasp the physical laws and motion of Earth but they are beyond the control of humanity. They can’t predict when and how long the quake will occur. As a result, people have to face sudden jolt in no time. Though quakes can’t be controlled, there are ways to minimise their impact and loss of life and property. It requires construction of quake-resistant structures and make appropriate contingency plan to quickly and effectively respond to the disaster. Every quake is a lesson for us. We have to pay heavy price if we ignore the lesson and fail to adopt timely measures to deal with the disaster. For example, the 2015 earthquake left behind the trail of death and destruction because of weak infrastructures and lack of preparedness. Haphazard and chaotic urbanisaiton coupled with weaker state mechanisms led to the higher human casualties and damage of private and public property from this tragedy.

Lack of preparedness and poor mobilisation of resources and manpwer hindered the prompt rescue and relief operation in the aftermath of tremor and its aftershocks in 2015. The country has unpleasant experiences regarding the post-quake reconstruction works. The quake victims were further victimised by the inordinate delay in the formation of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) owing to the government change and conflict of petty political interest. The appointment and removal of NRA chief on the trot slowed down the pace of reconstruction works. In yet another gratuitous act, one NRA chief had quit his post on his own and went to a district to contest election, leaving the quake survivors high and dry. But with the stable government in place, things are gradually improving now, according to a news report published in this daily.

The NRA the other day said that it had completed the reconstruction of approximately 141,626 houses with more than 436,000 houses under construction in the quake-hit 32 districts. It has prioritised the reconstruction of the private houses for they provide shelter, security, social prestige and wellbeing of the family members. It plans to build 450,000 houses by mid-July 2018. Fort this, it has paid attention to generating necessary human resources, delivering house reconstruction grants to the victims smoothly and retrofitting the partially damaged houses. Likewise, the government is building more than 18,000 houses for the vulnerable people, including the elderly, single women, orphans below 16 and people with disabilities. The NRA has said that 696,809 families out of the total 767,705 beneficiaries receive the first tranche of the grant. There is significant progress in the reconstruction of educational, health and heritage structures damaged by the quake. Now it is imperative for all to contribute to sustain this reconstruction momentum as the victims are in dire need of basic facilities to cling on to life that was turned upside down by the devastating quake.

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