Government-run old age home in Chitwan relies solely on donor agencies

Chitwan, February 4

The state-run old age home ‘Devghat Society Welfare Centre’ in Chitwan has been largely dependent on the support from donor agencies. While the government allocates about Rs 5 lakh budget for the welfare centre, its annual operational expenditure stands at Rs 2.5 million.

Manager at the old age home Dhak Raj Koirala said the centre depends solely on donor agencies for want of necessary budget from the government. “Until a few years ago, it was hard to run the home as there were no donors and the government’s budget was insufficient. However, there has been overwhelming support from donor agencies of late,” said Koirala.

“In the midst of government neglect, many philanthropists have started to extend their supportive hands for old and helpless citizens. Hence, we are planning to upgrade the shelter by increasing its capacity and service standards,” said Tanka Nath Paudel, chair of Devghat Area Development Committee, which runs the old age home.

According to Koirala, a total of Rs 13.49 lakh was collected from donors last fiscal. “Besides, cash support, they offered food, clothes, fruits, vegetable and others. Lately, we have not spent money on clothes and food grains as donations have covered them,” said Koirala.

There are 28 elderly citizens— 9 men and 19 women, at the shelter, which was established 22 years ago. It can accommodate 32 persons. “We are upgrading it to accommodate at least 50 persons,” Koirala added.

Donors visited the old age home on various occasions including birthdays, death anniversaries, wedding anniversaries and offered food and clothes, among other essentials. “If donors offer a day’s meal for the elderly, they pay around Rs 6,000,” said Koirala. The number of donors who offered meals for the elderly has reached 110 so far.

The committee is providing shelter to helpless elderly women above 65 and men above 70 years old on the recommendation of the local body. Six staffers work at the old age home and health services are extended by a health facility managed by Jaleshwor Ashram. Bharatpur Hospital also offers free services to the elderly.