Relief distributed without due procedure

Ramechhap, July 24

Ramechhap’s Likhu Rural Municipality has been accused of spending huge amounts in relief to flood victims as per its whims and of distributing relief without formulating a proper procedure.

More than double the amount was distributed to landslide victims recently against village executive’s allocated amount.

A meeting of the village executive last week had set aside Rs 5 lakh annual fund to help natural disaster victims in the municipality for this fiscal.

“As we didn’t expect a disaster of such extent, we ended up allocating a small fund,” clarified the rural municipality executive officer Tarjan Kumar Limbu, acknowledging that the decision to distribute the relief exceeding the designated fund was taken by the village executive itself.

Limbu cited lack of time as the reason for distributing funds without following proper procedure.

“The disaster befell while we were planning to formulate a procedure and we provided relief although a procedural mechanism was lacking,” he said, adding that the fund used from the capital expenses to aid the victims will later be reimbursed from other headings.

According to the rural municipality vice-chairperson Dipshikha Dahal, Rs 25,000 and Rs 65,000 was provided to the two families of the deceased and 10 displaced families respectively. Additional eight families whose houses are reckoned to have shifted elsewhere were provided Rs 50,000 each.

Earlier, the government had directed the local bodies to allocate budget for disaster management and concerned local levels were to form a procedure for spending such fund.

Two persons died and a few houses were swept away by floods in Khimti’s Chhatiwane, Khahare and Khanikhola two weeks ago. The whereabouts of three persons have yet to be learnt.

So far, District Natural Disaster Rescue Committee, Red Cross, and student unions such as Nepali Congress-aligned Nepal Student Union, CPN-UML-aligned All Nepal National Free Student Union have provided relief to the families whose houses were damaged.