KATHMANDU: Various INGOs have informed the government in writing about their inability to provide Rs. 300,000 housing grants to earthquake victims, saying they have been facing difficulties arranging the necessary resources for that.
They claimed that the government decision to increase the housing grant from Rs. 200,000 to 300,000 made it difficult to provide earthquake victims the assistance committed by them earlier.
“Three INGOs have already corresponded with the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), requesting the latter to readjust the number of grant recipients in ratio with the amount allocated for the housing grants,” Bhisma Bhusal, deputy spokesperson at NRA, told Republica. “Other INGOs have also reqested NRA through formal as well as informal channels to reduce the number of grant households on the basis of the new increment in the grant.”
The prime minister, immediately after the formation of the present government, announced an increase in the housing grant by Rs 100,000, and NRA subsequently updated its directives accordingly.
The INGOs that have written to NRA about their inability to provide the increased amounts include Lumanti Support Group for Shelter, EWDE-DKH and TearFund.
Altogether 24 INGOs had reached an agreement with NRA to provide housing grants to as many as 21,942 households. And as per the guidelines, INGOs willing to support the government in house construction for quake victims are required to provide the housing grants to at least 250 households in the VDC. But following the increment in the grant amount, the INGOs have been backing out of the deals, saying they cannot arrange the funding required, said Bhusal.
He said that the number of households that are to be provided housing grants will have to be reduced by one third if the number is adjusted in line with the new grant amounts. “The housing grants for over 7,000 out of the total number to whom the I/NGOs had agreed to provide the grant amounts will have to be covered out of state coffers if the number is adjusted,” he added.
He said that NRA has not been able to formally request the I/NGOs to arrange funds to cover housing grants for the total 21,942 households due to delay on the part of the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers in endorsing the amended directive on grant distribution in line with the prime minister’s announcement.
“But we have been requesting them to arrange funds informally. NRA can decide whether to press the INGOs to provide the housing grants to the agreed households or readjust the numbers as per their request,” Bhusal said.
– Sangeet Sangroula for REPUBLICA