Earthquake victims cynical about polls

Sindhupalchowk, May 9

For Ram Bahadur Giri of Gothapani, Irkhu Rural Municipality, Sindhupalchowk, the upcoming local election isn’t something to look forward to. An earthquake victim staying in a temporary shelter for two years now, Giri says he cannot bring himself to participate in the election campaign, considering the neglect he suffered in the hands of the state for the last two years.

“We have more pressing issues to deal with right now. We worry about where our next meal will come from and whether our shelter will remain after the next rain and storm. How can the state expect us to participate in elections?” Giri asked.

Giri also doubted the political parties would deliver on their promises they getting elected. “I voted in the elections in 2008 and in 2011, but here I am, with nothing but a plastic tent to cover my head. Why should I care about the government?”

Many other quake victims share Giri’s cynicism regarding the upcoming polls. They said they intend to abstain from voting this time. “We have finally dug the foundation to build our home with the first instalment granted by the state. But there is no water and additional fund to finish construction,” Kedar, another victim, said.

Earthquake victims said they were more concerned about having to weather this year’s monsoon under temporary shelters again. “The monsoons make our lives really difficult, and I am worried our homes will not be built by then,” Bhesh Bahadur Giri, another quake victim, said, adding that he would vote for any leader who promised to provide the second instalment of the housing grant quickly.

The village has a total of 42 households, of which 13 families started constructing their houses after receiving

the first instalment of the housing grant. They, however, have stalled the construction after government authorities delayed on the second instalment.