Construction of quake victims’ houses stops

Kathmandu, December 20

Shanta Prasad Adhikari, a quake victim of Tupche, Nuwakot, completed the foundation of his new house a month ago. He spent the entire amount of the first installment the government had provided as relief and additional amount to build foundation of the house.

Local officials told him that construction of the foundation of the house was mandatory to get the second tranche. He furnished photographs of the foundation and other details to VDC officials as per the instruction and claimed the second installment.

VDC officials however, told them that the government had not yet disbursed the second installment to anyone and he would have to wait for anew decision to get the relief amount.

“We completed the foundation of the house long ago,” said Adhikari’s younger son Anuj, adding, “But have not got the second installment.” He said that construction of his home could not resume until the government provided the second installment.

Adhikari’s family, who were hoping to shift to the new home at the earliest have to reside under a makeshift shelter this winter also.

With the government failing to provide the second installment of the relief amount, construction of over 20,000 houses of the quake victims has been halted for a long time. Due to apathy on the part of the concerned authorities towards their plight, thousands of quake victims have been compelled to reside under makeshift shelters for the  last one-and-a-half year.

“More than 20,000 quake victims have applied for the second installment,” said Chief Executive Officer of National Reconstruction Authority Sushil Gyawali. He said that the NRA could not distribute the second installment until the cabinet approved the work plan.

According to Gyawali, the NRA had sent the work plan to the cabinet a month ago and had also revised it following suggestions from the Prime Minister’s Office. “We will distribute the second tranche once the cabinet approves the work plan,” said Gyawali. He informed that more than 8,000 households in quake hit districts, who have completed construction of house, have also applied for the relief amount.

The Prime Minister’s Office, however, said a cabinet decision was not needed to disburse the second tranche of the relief and the government had given authority to the NRA in the steering Committee meeting, which was held about a month ago.

“The NRA has authority to distribute the second tranche,” said Damodar Regmi, secretary at the PMO.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance has backed the proposal of the NRA to amend ‘Guidelines on Grant Distribution to Private Houses’, which has proposed to distribute Rs 150,000 and Rs 100,000 as second and final tranche, respectively to households.

NRA to start surveying damage in 17 earthquake-hit districts

Pokhara, December 20

Nineteen months after a series of earthquake struck the country, National Reconstruction Authority is all set to start a survey of the damage in 17 quake-affected districts across the country.

Speaking at an interaction in Pokhara today, Chandra Bahadur Shrestha, NRA executive member said his office was dispatching technicians to survey houses damaged from mid-January.

“NRA has already distributed the first installment of grant amount to the families of 14 districts worst hit by the tremor,” Shrestha said.

A team will be sent to damaged houses as per the report sent by the DDC. It will survey houses and recommend accordingly.

Kaski LDO Balaram Dhakal said the DDC had reported 12,761 houses damaged by the quake. Shrestha said that a certain number of households would not get the grant amount as per the data sent earlier. Damage details range from one to five. Those houses attaining a 4 or 5 indicate complete destruction of structure while scores of 2 and 3 refer to partial damage. Houses ascertained to have a score of 1 will not receive any grant.

Houses that have been completely damaged will be entitled to Rs 3 lakh in three installments. Shrestha urged local party leaders to create an environment so that only fully affected households got the grant amount.