Complaint lodged against Saptari Red Cross chief

Rajbiraj, November 5:

Accusing Saptari district chairman of the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS), Jogendra Bhagat, of misappropriating relief meant for flood victims, a member of the NRCS (Saptari chapter) has moved the NRCS central office.

Demanding action against Bhagat, Raj Kumar Shah, a member of the Relief Distribution Sub-committee, forwarded the complaint to the central office yesterday after carrying out an investigation. In the complaint, Shah has accused Bhagat of committing irregularities while distributing relief under the World Food Programme to flood victims of Saptari district two months ago.

The sub-committee was formed under the coordination of Jagadish Aryal, Shah states in the complaint, adding that Bhagat distributed relief materials to the victims in a haphazard manner. Pointing at “irregularities” in the distribution of relief, some people claiming themselves to be real flood victims had obstructed the Mahendra Highway. A discussion held on October 16 under the coordination of Sanjeev Thapa, chairman of the NRCS, had decided to distribute relief based on an agreement. The decision has not yet been implemented, the complaint states.

A meeting of the relief distribution sub-committee, which was held on September 25, had decided to assign me the duty of distributing relief in Daulatpur, Tikuliya and Mahalniya VDCs, Shah states in the complaint, adding, “However, Bhagat prevented me from doing his duty. Bhagat himself distributed relief in these VDCs from September 30.”

A representative of the Red Cross central office, Balram Dahal, and coordinator of the Relief Distribution Sub-committee Aryal had arrived for the inspection of the relief distribution in the areas on November 1. However, Bhagat prevented them from entering the area, the complaint letter states.

Flood victims of Pakari VDCs of Saptari, accusing Bhagat of involvement in irregularities, gheraoed the Saptari district office of the NRCS yesterday.