Sindhupalchowk quake victims left in the lurch

Sindhupalchowk, April 20

Maiya Giri of Irkhu VDC Gothpani started reconstruction of her house after she received the first instalment of the grant that was provided by the government in Sindhupalchowk.

However, Rs 50,000, the amount of the first instalment, was hardly enough to lay the foundation of the house. Giri borrowed Rs 1,00,000 from her neighbour expecting that the government would distribute the second instalment of the grant instantly.

“I wish I had not started construction of the house. There is no possibility of constructing the house as per the government’s criteria before this year’s monsoon. We have been habituated to stay in the open for the past two years,” Giri said.

Yam Bahadur Giri, another quake victim, is also facing a similar situation. He has been waiting for the second instalment. “I have no source to pay debt. Hence, I will continue construction of the house only after the government provides the second instalment,” said Giri.

Harka Kumari Tamang has no interest in constructing the house and says she would start reconstruction only after the government starts distributing the second instalment.

Of the 42 households in the locality, only 13 families started constructing their houses with the government’s grant. However, almost all have halted construction due to lack of funds. “Construction of the house will not be completed before monsoon this year as we are still awaiting second instalment,” regretted another victim Kedar Giri.

The victims started construction after Japan International Cooperation Agency provided them training in constructing earthquake-resistant houses. JICA has been constructing a building for agriculture seeds Agriculture Development Office at Irkhu, Women and Children Office at Chautara and Small Farmer Agriculture Cooperative Office at Bhotechaur.

As per the victims, engineers have not checked the houses under construction. Bishal Giri of Chautara said, “The leaders were telling us that the government would provide the amount of the second instalment before the elections, but we have no idea as to why it is getting unnecessarily late?” questioned Giri.

Different organisations have been constructing houses for the victims at several places in Sindhupalchowk. “If the houses constructed by the organisations are as per the government’s recommendation, designs of such houses will be approved,” said Purna Prasad Dulal, Melamchi Municipality Executive Officer.

Meanwhile, Reconstruction Authority District Office Sindhupalchowk, has remained mum about incorporating the names of more than 1,000 earthquake victims of Melamchi Municipality.