Monday, October 23, 2017

Government appoints Bhusal new chief of NRA following Pokharel's resignation

A cabinet meeting today appointed former finance secretary Yubaraj Bhusal as the new chief executive officer (CEO) of National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) after Govinda Raj Pokharel resigned from the post.
Bhusal is the third person and fourth chief executive of the authority that was formed to help expedite the reconstruction after the devastating earthquake of April 2015.
Pokharel resigned from his post on Saturday as he has made an unexpected foray into competitive politics, filing is candidacy in parliamentary elections from Pyuthan. Election Commission had directed him to leave the district for taking part in election activities while still assuming the NRA top post.
Pokharel had served as the vice chair of National Planning Commission (NPC) before being appointed CEO of the authority by the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government.
Dahal's government had sacked Sushil Gyawali, appointed by KP Sharma Oli-led government, to appoint Pokharel for the top post.
Pokhrel was first appointed the chief executive of the authority by then Sushil Koirala-led government in August 2015 through an ordinance. But his appointment was scrapped in six months as his appointment saw an automatic annulment due to lack of law. The CPN-UML government led by KP Sharma Oli in December appointed Sushil Gyewali as the second chief executive to oversee the reconstruction.
But the Nepali Congress-Maoist Centre government led by Maoist chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal in January sacked Gyewali to bring Pokhrel back at the authority's helm. Now the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government has chosen Bhusal to lead the reconstruction body.
During his 34 years in bureaucracy starting in 1980, Bhusal served in various government agencies including the National Planning Commission (NPC), local development, general administration and tourism among others.
Meanwhile, Bhusal – after being appointed as chief executive of the authority – has expressed his commitment to deliver concrete results by leading the reconstruction works within three months. He further made commitment to expedite the reconstruction of national heritages and quake- survivors' houses placing them on top priority.
Bhusal’s appointment has come at a time when the authority is under intense public scrutiny for the sluggish reconstruction work.
The National Reconstruction Authority set-up to oversee the reconstruction works in the aftermath of the April 2015 earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people and floored thousands of houses, seems to have become a political playground for parties.
Frequent changes in the authority raised serious concerns over reconstruction of damaged houses, with thousands of people still awaiting housing grant. Many of the quake survivors are either still living in temporary shelters or damaged houses.
The authority has completed survey of reconstruction drive in 17 earthquake affected districts. It also has claimed that more than 200,000 private homes have either been rebuilt or are under construction in 14 districts worst hit by the devastating earthquakes. The authority had identified 737,705 households as the beneficiary of housing grant. Of the total, some 620,646 households have acquired first tranche of the government aid, whereas 85,332 have received the second tranche and 12,726 have received the third tranche.