THT 10 years ago: Parliamentary panel summons ministers, CoAS

Kathmandu, September 11, 2006

The Parliamentary Development Committee has decided to summon the Minister for Finance, Minister for Physical Planning and Construction, and the Chief of the Army Staff seeking clarification on why the construction of Surkhet-Jumla road on Karnali Highway was not completed on time.

Committee’s chairman Tanka Rai said they would give details to the committee on September 18.

The committee decided to ask the concerned on the basis of a field report submitted by a sub-committee, which was earlier formed for studying the progress of Surkhet-Jumla road. The three-member subcommittee, coordinated by MP Devi Lal Thapa, had visited the construction site last month.

According to the report of the sub-committee, the construction was to be completed by fiscal year 2003-04, but is still continuing. Only 94 km motorable section of the 232 km Surkhet-Jumla road has been operating throughout the year, while three major bridges are yet to be constructed.

Though the target was to construct a 30 m wide road, its width is just 15 m. Even in the section of the road laid by the army, the width is just 4 m instead of the targeted 6 m.

The World Bank had compensated those whose land was acquired for road construction according to the targeted road width.

No end in sight to flood victims’ woes

Flood victims whose houses and belongings were swept away 15 days ago are compelled to stay in the open. They have not been given even a single tent yet.

The flood on August 26 swept away two houses of Satgu Yadav, 60, of Holiya-6. His family of five is living under the open sky. Yadav said, “We are facing great difficulty as we don’t have a roof over our heads.” “We have spent the last so many nights soaking in the rain but no one has given us a tent,” he complained.

Most of his family members are suffering from cold and fever. Over 50 families are homeless after the floods, and most of them are living under the open sky. Mohan Lal Yadav, 90, and his family are staying at what used to be a cowshed before the flood.

Marat Ram Kori of Holiya-8, Khadaicha, said, “We are hearing that millions of rupees have been allotted for flood victims but that definitely hasn’t reached us,” he said. Mohan Lal said in Khadaicha also, over 60 houses were destroyed by the flood.

The family of Ram Kumar Harijan of Holiya-7, Piprahawa, spent a few nights in a local school building but now it is huddling under a makeshift tent.

Flood victims here complained that though the government shifted the flood victims of Chauferi to the Jhora jungle, victims from other places have been left to fend for themselves.