Sindhulimadhi, October 24

Many earthquake victims of Sindhuli district have been compelled to travel long distances to receive the government-pledged reconstruction grant in the district headquarters with, in extreme cases, fatal consequences.

Recently, quake victim Prithivi Bahadur Sunuwar, 65, of Jinakhu VDC-Sindhuli, fell to death while he was heading towards the district headquarters to receive the first instalment of the government-pledged reconstruction grant.

Similarly, Prithivi Bahadur Shrestha of Janakanya VDC lost his consciousness while waiting in a long line in a bank to receive the amount.

Likewise, relatives of a disabled Keshar Bahadur Bhujel, of Ranichuri VDC, had to take him to the district headquarters to receive the grant amount.

Victims have been living under makeshift tents for the past 18 months after last year’s deadly earthquake.

They said they had to walk a whole day on foot to reach the banks, as vehicles could not ply in rural areas during the monsoon due to muddy roads.

A victim Rajan Karki of Ranichuri VDC said elderly citizens and disable people faced problems as they had to reach either Sindhulimadhi or Khurkot to receive the amount. He said some people fainted while queuing up in hours-long lines at banks.

Another victim Mahabir Bishwokarma of Kamalamai said he had to walk an entire day to reach the bank.

“What has compounded my problems is that the VDC and municipality staffs don’t collect all information and give us only partial information,” he said. Bishwokarma added that multiple errors in their personal details had added to their hassle.

Meanwhile, Disaster Focal Person at District Development Committee- Sindhuli Bapindra Lal Majhi said the data collection was erroneous while banks had failed to deploy adequate number of staff.

Undersecretary of National Reconstruction Authority Bhishma Kumar Bhusal said they were having difficulty in distributing the grant amount for want of adequate staff at the banks. He added that bank staff members preferred to not be deployed in the rural areas.

“We have been trying our best to distribute the amount to the victims from nearby banks and financial institutions,” he informed.

A total of 19,658 beneficiaries have received Rs 50,000 as the first installment of the grant amount while more than 14,600 have yet to receive the amount in the district.