How did the earthquake affect the project?
Out of 10 districts, where 280 projects are in implementation, three districts, namely, Rasuwa, Dolakha and Solukhumbu, saw 25, 43 and 4 sub-projects of Himali Project respectively suffer damage. Rasuwa and Dolakha suffered badly. Since the project had heavily invested in the sub-projects in the three districts, the progress of the project was negatively impacted. Our preliminary estimates showed that the quake damaged projects worth 21.91 million rupees. The damage may go further up by the time of the final report.
How do you look at the losses in the three districts?
The project had agreed to support 62, 34 and 15 sub-projects in Dolakha, Rasuwa and Solukhumbu respectively till April 23, 2015, just two days before the first devastating earthquake. The total investment in these three districts to implement these sub-projects was Rs. 209.4 million and grant reimbursement before earthquake was 66.94 million.
Where did the sub-projects suffer the most?
The earthquakes destroyed yak sheds, rainbow trout raceways, processing factories, hand making paper machines, cheese production machines and utensils etc. The earthquake also killed chauri, yak, goat, sheep, and rainbow trout. It also damaged cheese, chhurpi, ghee and butter.
How did your organization get involved in the relief operation?
After the earthquake of April 25, people associated with the sub-projects got involved in the relief and rehabilitation programs. As the people had lost their homes and sheds, their priority is now not to build the sheds and other projects. They will resume their business only after this. In these three affected districts, famers are in no mood to start their businesses before November. This will also affect the implementation of the sub-projects. So far as the day to day functions of the offices are concerned, the quake did not have any effect in other seven districts. Of course, the quake hampered the work for few days in our central office as well.
When is the project supposed to complete?
This project is designed to last till October 2017. However, it will be prolonged further now by a year. The department level technical committee meeting has already take decisions to send a proposal to request Asian Development Bank through Project Directive Committee to extend the tenure of the project. We want extension of tenure to see if additional financing is possible for another three years. If there is no cost extension, it should be one year.
Your project had won the best performance awards in the last two years. How do you see the progress?
Our progress is not as it was. There is a little problem in disbursement due to earthquake. Since there is no any demand for disbursement from Dolakha and Rasuwa, our disbursement ratio has not gone up. Otherwise we are in the right track. It is very unfortunate that Rasuwa and Dolakha districts were the best performers of our project work and the quake has damaged our sub-projects badly there. These districts are no 1 and 2 in terms of number of sub-projects and investments. In totality, this will have impact in our performance.