Signing of housing grant agreements in limbo

Locals have been protesting, saying many households were not included on the list despite being  genuine victims

Kavre, August 12

Signing of the agreement on government-pledged housing grant entitled to the earthquake victims has been in limbo in Kavre for long.

Despite the government’s target to start providing first instalment of the grant amount to the victims from today, the signing of grant agreement in over a dozen VDCs of Kavre has been stalled for a few months now due to locals’ protest.

The locals have been protesting, saying many households were not included in the list of grant recipients despite being genuine victims.

Newly elected Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal after assuming his office had directed the concerned authorities to provide the victims first instalment of the grant within 45 days. However, the signing of grant agreement has been stalled for the past three months in Panchkhal Municipality and 16 VDCs of Kavre.

As per sources at the District Development Committee of Kavre, the signing of grant-agreement is under way in 54 VDCs and four municipalities of the district at present.

According to DDC Planning Monitoring and Administrative Officer Dholakraj Dhakal, as many as 27,000 quake victims have signed the grant agreement in the district so far. “The signing of grant-agreement has, however, failed to start in Panchkhal and 16 VDCs, including Kanpur, Kalapani, Khaharepangu, Nayangaun and Deupur,” he said.

“As the signing of grant-agreement was stalled as per the decision of an all-party meeting, we’re helpless,” he added.

Further, Dhakal expressed hope that works related to grant agreement in the villages would start from the third week of August. “As the district-based political parties, DDC office and VDC secretaries are doing the needful in order to resume the signing of grant-agreement, the process might resume from the first week of Bhadra,” he argued.

Panchkhal CPN-Maoist Centre leader Hari Prasad Dulal, however, clarified that they won’t allow the signing of grant agreement until the list incorporates missed out victims.

As many as 11,000 persons in the district have registered their complaints so far, saying they were missed out. As for around 300 victims of Rabiopi and Kolanti Bhumlu, who signed the grant agreement, the first instalment of Rs 50,000 has already been sent to their bank accounts.

As per the data with National Reconstruction Authority, as many as 67,700 quake victim households in Kavre district are eligible for the housing grant. A data with the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development show that 42,882 victim households in 12 districts have received the first instalment of the housing grant till date.

As many as 289,292 households in those districts are said to have signed the grant agreement so far. Apart from Rs 50,000 in first instalment, the victims will receive Rs 70,000 and Rs 80,000 in second and third instalments, respectively.

Data with the NRA show that a total of 533,000 houses were completely destroyed in the last year’s devastating earthquake. As per the government estimation, post-quake reconstruction will cost somewhere near Rs 838 billion.

The government, however, has allocated a budget of only Rs 140 billion for reconstruction this fiscal.