Saturday, 8 August, 2020

Reconstruction grievances piling up


By Indira Aryal

Kathmandu, Feb.15: As the National Reconstruction Authority’s (NRA) five-year’s term is coming to an end this year, cases of grievance have continued to pile up in the Appellate Committee of the Authority.
The piles of the cases at the NRA Appellate Committee indicate that one year may not be sufficient to handle all the grievances.
The Appellate Committee was formed at NRA as per the Act Related to the Reconstruction of Earthquake Affected Structures 2015, to deal with the cases where the parties not satisfied with the decision or order of the NRA can appeal to the committee.
The number of grievances has reached 5,703 until January 2020, whereas only 1,684 cases have been settled, and 4,019 registered cases are still waiting for settlement.
According to a member of the Appellate Committee and legal expert at NRA, Bhisma Raj Kadaria, settlement of all cases in a year is challenging. “We are working at our best to accomplish the task in time.”
Out of 1684 settled cases, the Appellate Committee has decided to enlist 135 appeals to the list of beneficiaries whereas 99 appeals were reconsidered for reconstruction and 36 appeals for retrofitting. At least 1,049 appeals were listed as non-beneficiaries, 456 cases were dismissed, and 44 cases were pending due to lack of required documents.
The cases were registered in all the 15 most-affected districts, and some had filed the cases at the central level, said Kadaria.
“The Appellate Committee is like an independent government unit where only earthquake survivors, those who lost their houses and property can file a case against the NRA’s decision on the distribution of house grants,” he said. “If they are not in the list of the NRA’s beneficiaries and they think they should be in it, then they can file the case, we conduct further study and provide them with satisfactory results,” Kadaria said.
While talking about the timeframe and the piling cases of complaints in the NRA’s Appellate Committee, Chief Executive Officer of NRA Sushil Gyawali said that the cases would be settled before the NRA’s term expires. “But in case if they could not be settled, the cases will be handed over to local government or concerned government bodies,” he added.
Gyawali said that the first survey was done by the Department of Statistics in 2016 and the second survey was done by the NRA in 2017. The relief funds were distributed after the surveys were conducted in the affected areas.
“The data are recorded in the MIS system of the NRA, so anyone can see their results whether they are in the beneficiary list or not,” he said. The data were analysed by an expert team of NRA, including engineers, he informed.
After the study, all the affected individuals’ houses, schools, public and private buildings and heritage sites were categorised into the list of beneficiaries, non-beneficiaries and retrofitting and funds were distributed accordingly, Kadaria said.
The Appellate Committee conducts hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday every week and looks up to 50 cases. The committee will look into the MIS data, the document presented by them and other field visit proofs before the decisions are made.
Gyawali said that over 80 per cent in the latest survey were fake beneficiaries and they had to remove their names from the beneficiaries’ list.
“Some of the people say that the survey was wrong for them, and the data shown in the MIS system were not real, then the committee will review the case and further investigate and decide,” Kadaria said.
The Government of Nepal has constituted a three-member Appeal Committee to take up the issue against the order and decision of the National Reconstruction Authority. 

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