Ramechhap, August 20
With complaints piling up regarding irregularities in distribution of relief to earthquake victims, Chief District Officer Basudev Dahal has started investigation by reaching the victims’ doorsteps in Ramechhap.
As part of his investigation, Dahal not only reached Tilpung VDC with relief, but also entered the houses of victims and counted the hearths to identify nuclear or joint family.
Of the 35 families that were provided relief on Wednesday, the identity cards of four families were found to be fake.
CDO Dahal denied relief to the first house they visited at Halede, seven km away from the district headquarters. He directed the VDC secretary not to provide relief to the family of former VDC vice-chairperson Ram Bahadur Budhathoki. Of the two houses, one was damaged whereas the next was partially affected and they could comfortably shelter after minor repairs.
However, local representatives of different political parties were not satisfied with the CDO’s decision. They commented that if relief was distributed that way, more than 50 per cent of the families in the victims’ list would not get it.
“The CDO needs to reach each and every house, distributing relief in only accessible parts is unfair,’’ argued UCPN-Maoist leader Narayan Nepali. Local residents along with the representatives of different political parties did not entertain CDO Dahal’s attempt to visit other houses in the locality. They tried to discourage him, saying that the houses were not attended by people.
Identity cards and relief to the families of disaster victims in different localities were provided on various grounds, beyond the directives of the government and District Disaster Rescue Committee. Though relief and identity card distribution followed a common policy, different people have interpreted who is a victim differently and that has created grudge among people.
CDO Dahal said more than 1,000 complaints were received at DAO and security personnel were preparing an investigation. Most of the complaints were received from Ramechhap municipality, Dimipokhari, Fulasi and Chuchure Saipu.
A version of this article appears in print on August 21, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.