Quake victims walk four days to receive grant

Dolakha, October 9

For thousands of earthquake victims in remote villages of Bigu Rural Municipality in Dolakha, receiving state-entitled housing grant has been no less than an ordeal, as they have to make a long, tiresome journey to collect the grant.

Around 2,640 quake victims of Ward No 4, 5 and 6 of the rural municipality walk four days to reach the neighbouring Ramechhap district to receive the grant from a bank that do not have its branch office in Dolakha.

Last year, National Reconstruction Authority had designated 16 different banks in the district from where quake victims could obtain the grant.

The nearest branch of Nepal Investment Bank, the bank designated for locals of Laduk, Chilankha and Alampu to collect the house grant, is in Manthali, the Ramechhap district headquarters. “It takes four days to get to the bank and come back home. It might take more days in case the bank is closed or you fall sick on the way,” said Aaitaman Thami of Alampu.

Earlier, the bank had distributed the first instalment of the grant to the beneficiaries at their doorsteps.

Bhim Tamang, another resident of Laduk said he had to spend 10,000 rupees on the journey. “I got Rs 150,000 as the first instalment of housing grant, but Rs 10,000 was gone just while travelling to fetch the amount. What is the use of the little money that now I am left with?” he said.

NRA District Coordination Committee Secretariat, Charikot Chief Sagar Acharya said the problem will be resolved soon. “We are aware of all the trouble that grant beneficiaries have been taking. So, we thinking to replace the bank with another one which is nearer,” he said.