Quake survivors unhappy with government grant

Housing grant agreements have been concluded with over 590,000 families whose houses were significantly damaged during the earthquake

Kathmandu, January 13

The government has decided to provide Rs 200,000 to Rs 300,000 to families whose homes were completely destroyed by the 2015 earthquakes in three instalments.

However, most quake survivors complained that the sum was inadequate to rebuild their homes.

Tika Bahadur Karki, 40, a resident of Lamidada-8, Dolakha, had to travel a long distance from his village and spend a week waiting to receive the first installment of Rs 50,000 from the government. The travel and lodge cost him Rs 10,000.

At a programme in Kathmandu today he said, “The money the government has provided will not even be enough to clear the site for construction. I am not sure whether or not to start building my house.”

According to a survey report of the National Election Observation Committee ‘Improving the Reconstruction Process in Nepal: Monitoring Report Phase II’ launched today in Kathmandu, only six per cent of the beneficiaries of reconstruction grant thought that the grant was adequate. Over 85 percent expressed dissatisfaction, and almost 10 per cent were not even aware of what the total grant amount is.

Similarly, less than 10 per cent of the beneficiaries considered the amount of the first instalment satisfactory, 78 per cent were dissatisfied, and the remaining 12 per cent were found indifferent.

Bikal Shrestha, program director of NEOC, said in March 2016, quake survivors of Dolakha district became the first to receive the first instalment of the grant from the government to rebuild their houses.

“The agreement process has had several problems, slowing reconstruction efforts. Nevertheless, so far housing grant agreements have been concluded with over 590,000 quake victims whose houses were significantly damaged by quake.”

Human rights activist Prof Kapil Shrestha said the fund was not enough to construct a house.

Earthquake victims have been facing problems, so they have built houses without following the standards set by the government.

Sanjay Sharma, secretary of the National Reconstruction Authority, informed that the management of funds and distribution had been a huge challenge. The government will soon address the problems and begins its work smoothly, he added.