Chand-led Maoists hinder data collection of quake victims in Kavre

Kavre, February 15

The Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal Maoist has obstructed government efforts to collect details for the reconstruction of damaged houses of earthquake victims in the Koshipari area of Kavre.

A team of the Maoist cadres led by local leader Meghraj Chaulagain has stopped a government team comprising an engineer at Tusare of Pokharichauri VDC for the past three days, putting forward a number of demands.

While they have demanded that the data collection be transparent and recognition of ‘completely damaged’ status for all traditional houses, they also want the team take back its remark that it would complete the mission even by seeking help from security personnel.

The party held a protest meeting at Kyaureni yesterday on the issue.

Speaking on the occasion yesterday, Chaulagain threatened to block the drive in other 17 VDCs in the Koshipari area too if their demands were not addressed.

“It’s good that the government has sent its team to collect details of the damage, but we doubt the entire process will be carried out honestly as there are always chances of irregularities and data tampering,” he said, adding, “So whatever data collection they’re doing should be done transparently, by letting people know how they are conducting this.”

As per the government campaign, the team is reaching out to each and every house of the victims and making online data entry by taking photos of quake-damaged residential structures and the victims’ families.

The team, which was sent by the district statistics office a week ago after the previous team had returned without completing its mission on account of the obstruction of the Maoist party, has so far collected data of 37 households in Pokharichauri.

Though a team led by district statistics office Chief Dinanath Lamsal reached Pokharichauri today and assured locals about free and fair collection of data, the process is yet to resume.

Meanwhile, there have been reports of undue pressure on the team from a local Unified CPN-Maoist leader.

As per the reports, local UCPN-M leader Krishna Prasad Gautam exerted pressure on the team to get his single family registered as more than one family during data collection.

“With leaders doing this, work has become difficult,” said a local facilitator.

“There are just 824 quake-victim families in the VDC but if the local leaders act like this, the number of the families is sure to across 3,000 in the VDC,” said the facilitator of data collection process.

A total of 106 teams have been deployed in two phases in 75 VDCs and five municipalities of Kavre by the Central Department of Statistics in cooperation with Local Development Ministry.