Under Gyewali the NRA did not achieve its perhaps first and foremost objective: to distribute reconstruction grants to the more than 600,000 households who lost their homes in the earthquake in April and May 2015. 500,000 still live in tin shags! Only a month after the devastation – now almost two years ago – the government pledged ultimately 300,000 rs. in reconstruction grants to every affected household. However, promises proved to be one thing, action quite another. Until now (January 2017), only 450,000 households have received any money and just a meagre 50,000 rs.!What happened to the rest of the 300,000 rs. for every household? Well, the release of the money is awaiting a quite bureaucratic registration and application process. The NRA has spent most of its time and resources on two massive household surveys and on creating a system of local offices, forms and bank procedures to channel out the grants. In short: many preparations but little distribution. All the more frustrating is it for many victims to see that leaders in Kathmandu still seem more interested in who is CEO of the NRA than what it’s doing.
Is the appointment of NC’s man, Govinda Raj Pokharel, as new CEO a mere “political” appointment, or could it be a sign of urgency in government circles to want to speed up the distribution process. Indeed, is his appointment a turning point after which the 600,000 earthquake victims will finally get the reconstruction grants in their hands to rebuild their homes? Well, as Pokharel sits down behind the desk at the NRA headquarters, some may be hopeful – and many, to be sure, will be watching.
PS: Few days after his removal, Gyewali took his case to court, arguing that he was sacked for “political reasons”.