KATHMANDU: The main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) ended its obstruction in parliament from Wednesday after the government agreed to release the house rebuilding grant to the quake victims in two installments.
Following an agreement with the opposition, Prime Minister KP Oli addressed the parliament and informed that the government will release Rs 150,000 in the first installment and 50,000 in the second. People who have already rebuilt their quake-ravaged houses abiding by the code of conduct issued by the government can get the 200,000 in lump sum.
“The government wants to release the grant assistance to the quake victims at the earliest and in the easiest way. Quake victims may get another Rs 100,000 in the first installment (in addition to 50,000) and the remaining Rs 50,000 in the second,” Oli told the parliament.
When the prime minister said ‘victims might get Rs 150,000 in the first tranche’, lawmakers from the main opposition NC got on their feet and demanded that the victims must get the sum in the first tranche. There was a tension between prime minister and NC lawmakers for a few minutes. Following this, Oli finally said that the victims will get the grant in two tranches if the World Bank agrees to revise the past grant agreement, which says the grant will be provided in three tranches.
“We should consult the donor agency before revising the grant release plan and amend our directives and working procedures accordingly, and the main opposition’s consent is a must to do all these tasks,” said Oli.
Earlier in the day, NC had assured the prime minister to end its five-day long House obstruction if the government became ready to release the grant in two installments with 150,000 in the first installment. But NC lawmakers became irked when the prime minister failed to say clearly in parliament that the victims will get the grant in two tranches, and prevented him from speaking.
“But we allowed him to continue his address after he corrected his statement,” NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba told journalists after the parliament meeting. Deuba further said that NC will not remain silent until the earthquake victims receive their grant assistance as promised.
“Our main objective is to provide relief and grant assistance to the quake victims and we will keep the government under notice for this,” said NC leader Prakash Sharan Mahat.
In the agreement reached Wednesday , the government will strictly monitor whether the grant assistance has been utilized properly and punish if anyone is found to have abused the grant. The government will start releasing the grant only after this fiscal year’s budget is endorsed by parliament, for which NC has agreed. Prime Minister Oli also urged the victims to register complaints if anyone has been left out in the grants list.