Around 50,000 quake-affected families to be removed from government list of beneficiaries

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They didn’t sign housing grant agreements within deadline, rebuilding authority says.

Prithvi Man Shrestha

Around 50,000 earthquake-affected families will no longer be eligible to receive the government grant to build new homes after they failed to sign agreements with the National Reconstruction Authority within deadline.

The authority had urged the earthquake survivors who had missed out from receiving the housing grant to sign the agreements by July 6 and collect the first instalment of the sum by mid-July.

The government provides a grant of Rs300,000 in three instalments to each family who lost their homes in the 2015 earthquakes.

“Of the total 57,000 beneficiaries who have not signed the agreements, an estimated 6,000-7,000 have applied,” said Manohar Ghimire, joint spokesperson at the authority. “The exact number of people to be removed from the list of beneficiaries has not been finalised yet as we are still receiving reports from various districts.”

The authority had asked the beneficiaries to apply at their respective ward offices to receive the grant. It had identified 826,311 families as beneficiaries.

A beneficiary gets Rs50,000 in the first instalment followed by Rs150,000 and Rs 100,000 in the second and third instalments based on the progress of house construction. Despite being recognised as beneficiaries, a significant portion of the quake-affected families stayed away from collecting the government grant. According to officials at the reconstruction authority, a number of factors such as beneficiaries being abroad, lack of land ownership certificates, old age and disability could have stopped them from signing the agreements.

The authority aims to complete rebuilding of private houses within the next fiscal year as its tenure will expire in December 2020. According to the reconstruction authority, there are still additional 5,000 families who didn’t receive the first instalment of the housing grant even after signing the agreements.

They were also told to collect their first instalment of the grant by mid-July. According to records maintained by the reconstruction authority, 761,513 families received the first instalment of the grant while 584,167 received the second instalment.The number of beneficiaries to receive the third or last instalment is 435,515. The quake, which claimed 8,790 lives, had destroyed nearly a million houses along with hundreds of health institutions, heritage sites, schools, roads and other infrastructure.