KATHMANDU: The Safe Citizens Shelter Program initiated since Fiscal Year 2018/19 is facing shortage of budget for implementation.
One hundred fifty seven thousand houses were selected under this scheme for replacing their thatched roofs with that of corrugated zinc sheets. There is a provision of providing grant of Rs 50 thousand per house for this purpose under this program. Senior Divisional Engineer, Meera Gyawali, Chief of the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, Housing Section, said the program has been hamstrung due to the shortage of budget.
This program had been started in 222 local bodies from FY 2018/19.
It was implemented at the same number of local bodies in FY 2019/20. However, it was announced that the grant amount would be provided to 157 thousand households from FY 2020/21.
Gyawali said the program is facing a budget shortage for providing the grant to the 157 thousand households.
According to her, Rs 7.5 billion is required for the program but a total of only Rs 5 billion has been released for the program two times. Thus, they have not been able to provide the grant to all the selected households, the Department stated.
Although the program steering committee chaired by the Minister for Urban Development on March 23, 2021 decided to increase the grant amount to Rs 75 thousand citing that Rs 50 thousand was not adequate for replacing the thatched roof with the zinc sheet, the Department has not been able to provide even the previous grant amount to the selected households.
However, the Department had demanded providing at least Rs 100 thousand for replacement of the thatched roof with zinc sheet roof.
Similarly, it is said that the People’s Housing Program is run by the province government is also facing shortage of budget. The Department has been carrying out monitoring of this program as well. The local governments have been complaining as there is a budget crunch in both programs.
Meanwhile, there is also a program for constructing shelters for the flood and landslide affected families of Bardia and Surkhet districts and Jure in Sindhupalchowk district.
It is said the Ministry has completed the program of constructing shelters worth Rs 730 million in FY 2018/19 itself with the aim of ensuring housing for the homeless.
(Purna Prasad Mishra/RSS)