Quake victims still await state grant

Sindhulimadi, May 26

With the onset of monsoon and the government’s failure to provide house reconstruction grants promised to them, earthquake victims in Sindhuli will have to brave the monsoon rains in temporary shelters this year too.

Krishna Tolange, a victim of Shitalpati, said that the National Reconstruction Authority hasn’t yet begun the process of signing contracts with victims for the pledged reconstruction grant in the VDC.

“Thirteen long months have passed since the quake rendered us homeless, but it seems we will have to spend this monsoon too in weak temporary shelters,” Tolange said.

Another victim Bir Bahadur Sarki shared his frustration, saying he has now lost almost all hope of reconstructing his damaged house before the monsoon.

“Earlier, I was hopeful that I would be able to shift to my own house, but the inexplicable delay of the government in aiding us has made me lose all hope now,” Sarki said, accusing the government of turning a blind eye to the plight of thousands of quake victims.

“The earthquake may be to blame for the beginning of our suffering, but now it is the government’s tardiness that is making it worse,” he added.

Sindhuli consists of two municipalities and 50 village development committees.

Although the government had pledged to start reconstruction campaigns in all the three constituencies on the anniversary of the April quake, only 1,021 victims of Jhara VDC have signed contracts for the reconstruction grant so far. The victims, however, are yet to receive the first installment of the grant.

Meanwhile, anomalies have been reported in the name list of victims identified as deserving the grant, which many believe is the reason behind delay in the signing of contracts.

A number of victims who had earlier received immediate relief of Rs 15,000 and an additional winter allowance of Rs 10,000 are said to have been excluded in the recent list for the reconstruction grant.

Also, there are people in the list who have not even received the earthquake victim identification card.

As per previous data, a total of 22,168 people were victimised by the quake and thus received the victim identity card. But by the time the government had prepared the list of people deserving the quake grant, the number of the victims had jumped to 34,256.

The quake had taken 14 lives in the district and injured 125 people. More than 400 schools, over 450 drinking water projects, over two dozen health facilities and police posts, and around two dozen religious and historical monuments were damaged in the quake.