"If the NRA remained with the same powers and guidelines as now, I don't see any future for it."
KATHMANDU, March 23: Chief Executive Officer of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) Govinda Raj Pokharel on Wednesday expressed his dissatisfaction over the NRA Act and blamed the act for the slow pace of post-quake reconstruction work.
Briefing the Development Committee of the parliament on Wednesday on the progress made in reconstruction, Pokharel blamed the government for not making the NRA powerful enough. "To expedite the post-reconstruction work, we need more powers. NRA should be allowed to work independently," he said.
He said the NRA is facing manpower shortage but none of the government bodies are supplying the needed manpower, hence the delay in the reconstruction work. "The lack of necessary manpower has been hampering our work, but the government neither supplies the manpower nor allows us to recruit on our own," said Pokharel.
He argued that the NRA Act has the same powers as a division of the National Planning Commission and the guidelines also make it difficult for us to carry out the post-disaster work.
"If the NRA remained with the same powers and guidelines as now, I don't see any future for it," Pokharel said. "If this was in Europe, no victim would be able to meet the criteria mentioned in the guidelines."
CEO Pokharel blamed the lack of co-ordination in releasing the reconstruction fund for delaying the NRA work. "We couldn't formulate any modality to mobilize the money collected in the Reconstruction Fund even after several attempts," he said.
The fund was established over a year ago and has around Rs 21 billion in it but has remained defunct in lack of an operational modality. The authority would be able to carry out its activities more autonomously and bypass procedural delays in the decision-making process if the reconstruction fund is immediately activated, NRA officials said.
In the response to the NRA CEO's briefing, the committee has asked the government and the NRA to activate the reconstruction fund within a month.
The meeting summoned the NRA CEO and other officials concerned from various ministries and has sought progress report of reconstruction activities.
Similarly, the committee has asked both the government, the NRA and other bodies concerned to speed up the reconstruction work. Likewise, the committee asked the government to make sure that the earthquake victims get the second installment of the reconstruction grant so that they could get proper shelter before the monsoon.
The meeting has decided to summon the prime minister and other ministers concerned for further discussion on this issue.