Dipesh Shrestha/Republica Gyewali exiting the prime minister’s office after submitting clarifications Wednesday.
Gyewali in his clarification has stated that the delay in the reconstruction and rehabilitation was not because of NRA but due to the ineffectiveness on the part of the line ministries and other government bodies in implementing the directions given by the NRA steering committee led by the prime minister himself.
KATHMANDU, Jan 5: Submitting his clarification to the government on Wednesday, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) Sushil Gyewali has argued that there is no reason for seeking the clarification as the NRA has completed all the major basic tasks of reconstruction and rehabilitation that should have been completed within a year of its establishment.
In his clarification, CEO Gyewali has stated that the government's decision to seek clarification from him on the charge of failing to expedite the overall tasks of reconstruction and rehabilitation contradicts the conclusion of the NRA's steering committee meeting chaired by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on September 26, 2016. The meeting had concluded that the progress on reconstruction and rehabilitation was satisfactory, according to a highly-positioned official at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM), seeking anonymity.
Last week, alleging that the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) failed to expedite the overall tasks of reconstruction and rehabilitation as per the expectations of the earthquake victims, the government had decided to seek clarification from Gyewali over the delay giving him seven days to submit the clarification. Gyewali on Wednesday submitted a 12-page clarification to OPMCM Secretary Dinesh Thapaliya. Along with his clarification, he has also submitted other documents to support his claim that the reconstruction work is satisfactory.
According to the source, Gyewali in his clarification has blamed the government for the delay. He has said that he has distributed the first tranche of house reconstruction grants to 459,886 of the total 5,44,996 victims in the last one year and also carried out other major reconstruction tasks.
The source informed that Gyewali in his clarification has stated that the delay in the reconstruction and rehabilitation was not because of NRA but due to the ineffectiveness on the part of the line ministries and other government bodies in implementing the directions given by the NRA's steering committee led by the prime minister himself to them on various occasions.
“Gyewali has stated that he has frequently approached and negotiated with concerned officials of the line agencies to implement the decisions of the steering committee. He has stated that he cannot make any decisions on his own if other line ministries and other concerned bodies do not implement the decisions on time,” the source told Republica.
In his clarification, he has stated that the Ministry of Finance has yet to release sufficient funds for implementing various plans and programs of the NRA even though the prime minister has already asked the ministry to release the funds and pave the way for speedy reconstruction, informed the source.
Gyewali in his clarification has alleged that the move by the Ministry of Finance to allow the NRA to distribute Rs 28 billion collected in the Reconstruction Fund of NRA only for housing grant distribution was against the “Act to Provide for Reconstruction of the Earthquake Affected Structures 2072” and also against the decision of the NRA steering committee. He has claimed that the money collected in the fund could have been mobilized for other reconstruction works as the money in the fund does not freeze and other reconstruction related works apart from housing grant distribution could have been done at a rapid pace.
Similarly, Gyewali has also said that the Ministry of General Administration did not provide sufficient numbers of officers to the NRA even though a steering committee meeting on October 26, 2016 had directed the ministry to deploy necessary officials to the NRA within 15 days.
The clarification submitted by Gyewali was forwarded to Chief Secretary Som Lal Subedi on Wednesday. Subedi will now submit it to Prime Minister Dahal and the issue is likely to be discussed in the upcoming cabinet.
Last week, talking to Republica, Minister for Law and Justice Ajay Shankar Nayak had said that the prime minister will discuss Gyewali's clarification in the next cabinet meeting and take initiatives to replace him if needed.