Okhaldhunga quake victims deprived of housing grant

Okhaldhunga, January 14

As many as 77 families of earthquake victims in Okhaldhunga who have already signed the contract with the government for housing grant are still deprived of the fund more than two years after the disaster.

Kul Kumari BK of Madhavpur in Mahebhanjyang Rural Municipality-9 had her name registered on the beneficiaries’ list at the time when the technical team visited the village to assess damages caused by the earthquake.

She then prepared the required documents and also signed the grant contract but she hasn’t received even the first instalment of the housing grant.

“I went to the bank to collect the grant money but had to return empty-handed after I was told that my name was not on the beneficiaries’ list,” she said. She shared her plight saying  she had been living in her quake-damaged house.

Similar is the plight of Surya Adhikari, another victim from the same village.

“As it is too risky to live in our damaged house, we are living in the cowshed. We don’t know when this cowshed, too will cave in and crush us to death,” he said, venting his ire on the staff of the National Reconstruction Authority district coordination committee secretariat. “I went to the secretariat office four times, but each time I was sent back with a pledge that I would get the amount in a few days. But now, more than one-and-a-half-years after I signed the contract, I don’t see any grant coming my way,” he said.

There are other 15 families in Madhavpur whose houses were completely damaged in the quake, but not a single family has got the housing grant so far. Their names are missing from the beneficiaries’ list that the bank has. Frustrated, some of them have already built their houses with money from their own pockets.

NRA district coordination committee secretariat Chief Yubraj Kharel, however, said the problem was caused by some technical reasons. “In fact, the names could have gone missing from the beneficiaries’ list due to software issues,” he said. “As we can’t address the issue from our level, we’ve reported it to the authority above us but we don’t know why the issue has not been resolved till now,” he added.

Manebhanjyang Rural Municipality chair Motiraj Rai also rued the lack of power to settle the issue from the local level


Meanwhile, quake victims who have been waiting for the grant for so long have threatened to go to the court if the authority continues to ignore them.