Political row halts relief distribution

POKHARA, July 29

Dispute over data collected on victims of the April 25 earthquake has halted the distribution of Rs 15,000 each for zinc sheet procurement to quake victims in Kaski.

VDC secretaries in the district fear they might face action in case they distribute the relief amount to people other than genuine victims.

Data collected by police and district technicians’ teams do not match with the statistics prepared by the local political mechanism.

Dhital VDC Secretary Kamal Mohan Subedi said they were not ready to take risk, as the data received was discordant.

“Technicians’ team has one data while the local mechanism has submitted a list that does not match the former,” Subedi added.

VDC secretaries bemoan that they are in a dilemma as the district disaster rescue committee presses for completing relief distribution, while the local mechanism has failed to forge consensus on the number of victims.

Nepal police had prepared a list of 42 victims, technicians’ team submitted a list of 39 victims while CPN-UML prepared a list containing 12 quake victims in Machhapuchhre VDC. However, a 15-member local mechanism has decided to distribute relief fund to 25 households stating that their houses were fully destroyed.  However, UML representative Aash Bahadur Gurung wrote a note of dissent instead of signing the decision.

VDC Secretary Jagnath Adhikari said the UML representative had obstructed relief distribution and other parties’ representatives said they would not to attend the meeting again.

Kaskikot VDC Secretary Mohadutta Khanal said that disagreement among party representatives had made it tough for them to distribute the relief fund. “I don’t think we can work as party representatives keep disputing,” Khanal added.

Kaski LDO Taranath Adhikari said that many Kaski VDCs had encountered problems in relief distribution.

According to district disaster rescue and relief committee, three persons were killed, 1,744 houses were fully destroyed, 698 houses were partially damaged and ten government houses were flattened in Kaski due to the earthquake of April 25.

Kaski CDO Krishna Bahadur Raut said that Rs 5,000 each was distributed to 546 households whose houses were destroyed, Rs 4,000 each to 1,200 and Rs 3,000 to those whose houses were partially damaged.