LETTERS: Government responsibility
Further to your editorial “Not enough” (THT, August 18, Page 8), we trust that the government is not trying to humiliate the flood victims by distributing inedible, rotten rice. After cutting a sorry figure by allowing tons of rice to rot and tin sheets to rust, gifted by our very friendly neighbour and well-wisher Bangladesh during the quake two years ago, the government is once again trying to spite its nose by distributing food fit for worms and maggots. An enquiry must be set up immediately to unravel on whose orders and why these toxic grains were being pushed to the victims.
It is a cruel consolation that the government is magnanimously distributing alms of Rs 70 per person per day in lieu of rotten grains. Everyone is aware that Rs 70 can buy just about three cups of tea at the most on the roadside kiosks in the villages. And, most seriously, if we try to bribe a most corrupt government servant with Rs 70, s/he will take
unforgiving offense and might destroy our official personal record for good. That is what Rs 70 can do. Nepal does not yet have clean, hygienic canteens where people can have food for 8 or 16 Nepali rupees a meal. If the government is unable to take care of the victims, it should admit the same with dignity and allow I/NGOs and other volunteers to help in anyone they can to the affected people. Dog in the manger policy will not help. However, it is better to stick to single-window, i. e. government window only provided it can take good care of the victims “Stay on one-window relief delivery” (THT, august 19, Page). After all, it is the sole responsibility of the government, and government alone, to take care of the people. The general public involvement is only a matter of personal concern and compassion.
Manohar Shrestha, Kathmandu
I am writing this to put emphasis on how the recent deluge in Tarai can bring the rippling effects in and around the flood affected areas. The consequences of floods are just not what has been lost but more importantly it is what will happen in the wake of this disaster. The diseases may be viral and that may potentially give rise to a devastating
situation. An outbreaks of epidemic cannot be ruled out as the people are consuming contaminated water and they do not have sanitary facilities, proper health care planning and distribution of food until they return to normalcy.
The immediate tasks of the government which has issued a fiat of one-window relief distribution policy is to make sure that no people suffer from an outbreak of an epidemic of diarrhea or cholera as is likely to happen in aftermath of the disaster of such a large scale. The main question is how to ensure food security in the flood affected areas where standing crops have been damaged. It is better to be proactive than being reactive to the possible consequences when it happens. We need mental caliber to predict such unthinkable events.
Shiva Neupane, Melbourne