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Reconstruction in limbo 

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
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Sundar Karki, owner of Hotel Sangam at Charikot of Dolakha district, looks at the toppled building of his hotel. Demolition and reconstruction works, he says, have been delayed due to lack of technical assistance from the government. The delay in Reconstruction Authority has also delayed rebuilding works in earthquake affected districts. Photo: Sahina Shrestha

Finally set up nearly four months after the 25 April earthquake, the National Reconstruction Authority has lost its legal status after Parliament, preoccupied with the constitution, failed to ratify a bill to form it by its deadline last week.

This has added further dismay of hundreds of thousands of earthquake survivors waiting for the government’s support to rebuild their damaged homes. The Authority, led by the Prime Minister and his designated CEO, Govinda Raj Pokhrel, was to be the main agency dealing with rebuilding the 800,000 destroyed homes.

The government had formed the Authority through an ordinance ahead of the International Conference on National Reconstruction (ICNR) held in Kathmandu on 25 June, exactly two months after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed nearly 9,000 people.

The ordinance expired last week as the government delayed in tabling a new bill in the Parliament to replace it. On Tuesday, the government tried to table the replacement bill but had to back off due to opposition from the UCPN (M) which wanted to discuss its provisions.

The UCPN (M) leader Baburam Bhattarai had publicly declared that he would have liked to lead the agency, and his party is now blocking the ratification of the bill. Pokhrel was appointed CEO only last month after much political haggling.

Pokharel had just started forming a team and preparing guidelines for reconstruction. His hands will now be tied unless the authority’s legal status is restored.  As the authority grapples with legal issues leading to delay in reconstruction projects, hundreds of thousands of earthquake survivors continue to live in temporary shelters.

A survey conducted by the Himalmedia in 12 earthquake-hit districts last month showed that only 2.8 % per cent of earthquake survivors had rebuilt their houses without waiting for the government’s support. More than 50% displaced families were still living in temporary shelters and others were in repaired houses, rented rooms and tents.

At the ICNR, donors had pledged $ 4.1 billion for Nepal’s reconstruction. But the process to receive and spend that money has not started as the authority’s legal status hangs in balance.

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3 Responses to “Reconstruction in limbo ”

  1. Ravi raj kaur on Says:

    Sad

  2. namah on Says:

    Kunda: you need an article titled: “Does Nepal deserve the Aid it gets?”

  3. Anand prasad on Says:

    Please get on with Devastation Reconstruction Mechanism (Authority establishing and effectively and non -interference working) immediately. Consider developing a short term and long term plan and get going.

    As a Infrastructure Development Professional myself, from India, New Delhi, I intend to contribute massively , in rebuilding lives of thousands of our esteemed neighbour nation brethren and bring cheers and happiness back in their lives, by exhorting and unleashing a sustained campaign amongst Developers and Contracting Organisations and Fraternity from India , to come forward and come along to participate and serve the Reconstruction Mission.

    Please enable us to organise the same, by organising enabling response system and structure.

    High Regards – Anand Prasad

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