by Staff Writers
Kathmandu (AFP) Sept 8, 2016
Nepal's new prime minister promised Thursday to speed up reconstruction after a devastating earthquake and said he would increase aid for homeless victims as he laid out his government's priorities.
The previous administration had been heavily criticised for the slow pace of rebuilding, with a $4.1 billion reconstruction fund largely untouched over a year after the April 2015 disaster.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal, a former Maoist guerrilla who took over as prime minister last month, said his government would increase the compensation for those who lost their homes in the quake from 200,000 rupees ($1,882) to 300,000.
"Speeding up the reconstruction and building after the earthquake... falls in the priority of this government," he told parliament.
"The government will not tolerate any carelessness or delay in this work."
Nearly 9,000 people died in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake and millions more were left homeless.
Many now face a second winter without proper shelter because they have still not received the compensation money they need to start rebuilding their homes.
Dahal, better known as Prachanda, also vowed to resolve a row over a new constitution that triggered deadly protests last year by members of the Madhesi ethnic minority, who live mainly in Nepal's southern plains.
More than 50 people died in clashes between police and the protesters, who said the new constitution left them politically marginalised.
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