Kathmandu, December 26: The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has said that 83 per cent progress has been achieved on an average in the reconstruction of the private houses, schools, health institutions, heritage sites, government buildings and security agencies' buildings that suffered damages in the April 2015 earthquake.
At a press conference held to mark the completion of four years of its establishment, the NRA shared that 69 per cent of the reconstruction has been completed in 6 sectors while 14 per cent of the reconstruction was undergoing.
The structures damaged in the earthquake have been replaced with structures that have been
reconstructed in a safe and attractive manner, the NRA said.
Here's the full text of the press briefing by Chief Executive Officer of the NRA Sushil Gyewali:
I would like to heartily welcome you all to this press conference organized on the occasion of the completion of four years and beginning of the fifth year of the establishment of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA). Recognizing the contribution of the media in the post 2015-earthquake relief, rescue and reconstruction and rehabilitation, I am confident of receiving similar support in the days to come.
After the earthquake, we were all in a devastating and vulnerable situation. We had lost self-confidence, hope and aspiration. By the time the NRA was founded in 2072 Poush (December 2015), we were in a doubt whether the physical structures damaged by the earthquake would be reconstructed. The NRA began from ground zero and as we complete four years, we are in a situation where we can share with pride the achievements that we have made in reconstruction. And this is a result of collective effort, hard work, coordination, collaboration and partnership between you, us, the local community, three tiers of the government, political parties, non-governmental sector, various organizations and the national/international community.
On the occasion of completion of four years of reconstruction, I think it is relevant to discuss about the achievements that we have made so far. The private houses, schools, health institutions, heritage, government buildings and security agencies' buildings had suffered the most in the earthquake. In the four years of reconstruction that has been completed and that are undergoing, we have achieved 83 per cent progress in 6 sectors, of which 69 per cent has been completed while 14 per cent are under reconstruction. The structures that were devastated by the earthquake are now being replaced with structures that have been reconstructed in a safe and attractive manner.
We have made 86 per cent progress in the reconstruction of private homes including those that have been constructed and are under-construction. Of the 780,165 housing grant agreements that were signed for private house reconstruction, the houses of 482,323 beneficiaries have been constructed, which is 62 percent of the beneficiaries that signed the grant agreement. Furthermore, 189,049 houses are under-construction, which is 24 per cent. We also addressed around 400,000 grievances related to the private houses.
Of the 7,553 schools that were damaged, reconstruction of 5,380 i.e. 71 per cent of the schools have been completed, while 1,787 schools are under-construction. This can be regarded as an unprecedented progress in the improvement of physical infrastructure of schools.
Likewise, of the 891 heritage sites of 32 districts, reconstruction of 387 heritage structures has been completed. Another, 123 heritage sites are under-reconstruction. Furthermore, of the 1,197 health centers that were damaged, the reconstruction of 665 health centers has been completed, while 149 are under-construction.
Altogether 359 of the 415 government buildings that suffered complete and partial damage, the reconstruction of 359 buildings have been completed. Work is in progress in 49 buildings.
The reconstruction of 183 structures of the security agencies have been completed, while 32 are under-construction.
Furthermore, of the 4,204 beneficiaries that were in vulnerable situation following the earthquake, procurement and management of land for safe settlements have been made. Land has been procured and managed for 8,744 landless people.
The plan for 43 integrated settlements has been endorsed. Of them, work on 22 of them has begun while reconstruction of three integrated settlements has been completed.
During the reconstruction phase to date, reconstruction of 443 km of the 762 km road to be reconstructed in various districts has been completed while 319 km road is under-reconstruction.
Likewise, 791 drinking water projects have been completed through the Department of Drinking Water and 670 projects are under-implementation.
The reconstruction of Pratappur and Anantapur temples of Swoyambu, Bouddha Stupa, Krishna Mandir of Patan, Gaddi Baithak of Hanuman Dhoka, Bajrayogini of Sankhu, the Prasuti Griha, Bir Hospital and the Nepali Army headquarters has been completed.
The reconstruction of major structures like Dharahara, Rani Pokhari, Kasthamandap, Basantapur Durbar, Nuwakot Durbar and retrofitting of Singha Durbar (northern, eastern, southern and western part) is currently underway while reconstruction of Durbar High School is almost complete. Similarly, reconstruction of monasteries has also moved ahead.
As per the financial data, Rs. 335 billion, including Rs. 293 billion rupees from the government and donor agencies and Rs. 42 billion from the non-government organizations has been spent so far.
Some important achievements have also been made in some areas in course of the post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation. A norm has been established to build earthquake-resilient structures. This is a big achievement in our country that is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. We have also established provision to distribute the grant through banks. This has helped maintain good governance and transparency, and enhanced people's access to the banking system.
In addition, it has shown that reconstruction of hundreds of thousands of private houses is possible with the participation and ownership of the people. This model could also be exemplary to the international community for post-disaster reconstruction.
The aforementioned achievements made in reconstruction and rehabilitation were made by doing away with various kinds of challenges at different phases of the work. In the four years of the past reconstruction, we faced political instability, lack of human resources and finance, the transition of the implementation of federalism, concentration on the election of the three tiers of governments and lately the adjustment of the civil servants. We are, however, moving ahead by addressing one challenge and problem after the other, including those mentioned above.
Some of the challenges continue to exist in the remaining period of reconstruction and rehabilitation. This includes specially the management of financial resources, reconstruction of private homes in the urban sectors, and returning back funds from people who provided false information about house reconstruction after being listed as poor beneficiaries, among others.
We still need around Rs. 300 billion to complete the remaining task of reconstruction, which includes a guarantee of at least Rs. 340 billion for completion of the tasks assigned for the current fiscal year. We are working seriously to resolve the aforementioned challenges including that of financial resource management. Soon, we will be completing the remaining task of reconstruction by resolving those problems. We are adding a grant of Rs. 50,000 in the reconstruction of the private houses of the poor communities and then mobilizing around 1,000 mobile masons and social mobilizers. Special plans are being implemented along with a master plan for reconstruction of private houses in the urban sector and reconstruction of archeological heritage sites and traditional settlements in the urban areas.
Along with the completion of the remaining task of reconstruction, we have also planned to document the experiences that we have gained to hand it over to the future generation, and to share this experience with the international community. In this context, we are hosting an international conference in the coming year while work is underway to establish an international level Seismological Research Center at the Institute of Engineering and an Earthquake Museum at the Dharahara premises. For institutional sustainability of our works, we have given special importance to our collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority and the various ministries at the central level, and with the local community and municipalities at the local level.
During our visit to the earthquake-affected areas, people who have completed reconstruction of private houses have urged for livelihood programs. An environment should be created to make the people who have completed physical infrastructures financially reliant as well. In this regard, availability of concession loan has been guaranteed while livelihood programs are being carried out in collaboration with various donor agencies. Some more programs are being implemented from this fiscal year.
Like in the past, the remaining task of reconstruction and rehabilitation will be completed by addressing the challenges before us with aforementioned efforts. But support and cooperation of all sides is essential for it. I would like to thank you all with the confidence of receiving continuous support and cooperation in this campaign of building a safer Nepal by completing all the tasks of reconstruction and rehabilitation. Thank You!