Khotang, February 12
Data collection of earthquake victims whose houses were damaged in the April 2015 earthquakes has been completed in 35 VDCs of Khotang.
Preparation of the victims’ name list and verification of details have completed in the district, which comprises one municipality and 72 VDCs. “Of the 34 engineers deployed by National Reconstruction Authority for the survey, 18 have completed their task so far,” said Shiva Narayan Mahato, interlocutor at District Statistics Office, Khotang.
Of the total 13,799 victims, only around 10,600 have been verified as genuine victims so far in the district. Data collection had started in the district 19 months after the devastating earthquakes rocked the country. It has been estimated that the total number of victims might go down as the earlier data collection was flawed.
The District Administration Office, Khotang will start distribution of reconstruction grant after signing agreement with the eligible households. Engineers visit the victims’ houses and categorise them into five groups on the basis of damage. “And only those victims who fall under categories three to five will be provided with the reconstruction grant,” he said.
VDC secretaries of the district have been entrusted with the signing of grant agreement. The government has pledged to provide the victims with Rs 50,000, Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 1 lakh in three instalment respectively as reconstruction grant. The victims that have already rebuilt their houses will still be beneficiaries of the grant if they meet the criteria.
Government apathy decried
Dhading, February 12
Chandra Bahadur Chepang’s house at Simthali of Mahadevsthan VDC-2 collapsed in the April 25 earthquake, but he is yet to receive the housing grant promised by the government.
He had shown his demolished house to a team of technical experts dispatched by the government. However, the team did not mention his name while preparing the list of quake victims eligible for the government grant. Chepang’s family is currently living in a makeshift shelter.
Chepang had sought support from the VDC office to rebuild his house. “My two daughters are handicapped and I have to look after them. We will die in the fields if the government doesn’t support us,” said Chepang. Many Chepang families are taking shelter in a primary school building after their houses collapsed in the massive earthquake. A total of 25 Chepang families living in Mahadevsthan-2 are not included in the reconstruction aid list. In ward number 3, there are 15 such families. Carelessness on part of the technical team have deprived these families of the government’s housing grant.
In Jogimara VDC, there are 52 such Chepang households. They said the government had neglected them. There are over 100 Chepang families in Dhusha VDC, according to Nepal Chepang Association.
A version of this article appears in print on February 13, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.