Gorkha, August 19
Locals of Gorkha the epicentre of the 25 April 2016 earthquake have expressed outrage over the haphazard spending of aid money by INGOs in the district.
People complained that INGOs were distributing relief only to accessible people and without identifying actual needs, and a large sum of money was being wasted on logistic luxury.
Around 10 INGOs have set up their offices in Gorkha to supposedly aid earthquake victims. Locals have expressed their disappointment with particularly two of the INGOs – the World Vision international and the Catholic Relief Service.
The INGOs’ recent activities of distributing relief materials and cash to victims in bits and pieces have irked locals, and locals complain that their pressing need to construct shelters against the scorching heat and erratic rain was not addressed.
Although the CRS has selected CARITAS, Swanra Intensive Village Development Center and System Development Service Centre as local development partners, no work has so far started.
The Gorkha District Natural Disaster Relief Committee is not aware of the activities of CRS in the district even 15 months after the earthquake hit the country.
The budget dedicated to earthquake survivors has been spent in the operation of over a dozen vehicles, house rent, and hotel charge. The CRS has taken the secretariat building of Gorkha Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Chhahare on rent (monthly Rs 50,000) for its official works. Sources revealed that they have spent Rs 4.5 million merely for the maintenance of the building.
The Gorkha Chamber of Commerce and Industry had constructed the building at the cost of Rs 3.5 million some years ago. The building with some cracks after the earthquake has been painted and has ACs installed in its rooms.
Likewise, the CRS has rented a hall at Gorkha Inn of Shaktichowk, Gorkha at Rs 100,000 a month. The INGO generally organises its events in the Miracle and Brown Resort at the district headquarters.
CRS Gorkha In-charge Snigdha Chakrabarty said that all activities of the organisation are being undertaken with the government’s approval.
“All information about our project activities are with the government,” Chakrawarty said in response to the request for information on their activities.
Terming the activities of the INGOs non-Transparent, the CPN (Revolutionary), Nepal Student Union, Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, ANNISU, and NGO Federation have urged development partners to be more transparent and accountable on their use of public money.
A version of this article appears in print on August 20, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.