Nepal to unveil $8.3 bn plan for quake reconstruction

Kathmandu, May 12 (IANS) Nepal’s National Reconstruction Authority is to unveil a revised $8.3 billion plan for post-quake reconstruction of damaged private and public structures and buildings for the next five years.

The post-disaster recovery framework (PDRF) will be a major cornerstone for mobilization of all kinds of foreign and domestic resources for the next five years which will be unveiled by Prime Minister K.P. Oli.

The NRA has revised upward the reconstruction expenditure after a new assessment which it will present to the Kathmandu-based donor community on Thursday.

During the international conference on Nepal’s reconstruction in June last year after the devastating earthquake, the then government had predicted that Nepal will need around $7 billion for reconstruction.

Delay over reconstruction, surge in numbers of new damaged sectors and the rising US dollar are blamed for the swelling budget.

The top-most priority of the new road map is to construct 800,000 new houses within two years.

The reconstruction sectors include reconstruction of houses in rural and urban areas, reconstruction of government offices, hospitals, school buildings, road and infrastructure, hydro power stations, agriculture, irrigation, tourism, service sectors, transportation, livelihood and many more.

Madhusudhan Adhikari, secretary at NRA, said a total $1.5 billion per annum will be mobilized for reconstruction work for the next five years.

Other resources will be mobilized to raise the funds to meet the requirement as donors had already pledged $4 billion during last year’s conference in Kathmandu.

India committed $1 billion for Nepal’s reconstruction that included grant and loan, and Nepal has already signed an agreement with India during the visit of Oli in February.

In fact officials have calculated that reconstruction expenditure will reach $10 billion at the end of five years plan before completion of the reconstruction works.

The Post Disaster Need Assessment (PDNA) prepared by National Planning Commission in the aftermath of the quake stated that Nepal needs reconstruction in 21 sectors and damaged properties worth $6.7 billion, and requires $6.69 billion for reconstruction and rehabilitation.

The new road-map spells out the responsibility to be undertaken by various government agencies within a time-frame for reconstruction to be speeded up.

The NRA has already started providing reconstruction loans to the owners of damaged households, and around 3,000 such owners have already signed bilateral agreements to build houses with the government loan. Nearly half a million houses were totally damaged by the quake, according to the PDNA and 250,000 houses were partially damaged.

Over 27,000 engineers will be mobilized in 13 worst affected districts to carry out reconstruction task, according to the NRA.

The new road map states that reconstruction work will be completed by 2021 July.

At least 8,790 people were killed and 22,493 injured in the April 25, 2015 quake of 7.8 magnitude and its subsequent aftershocks.

–IANS

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