Dhankuta, February 28 Having lost his home to the devastating earthquake about three years ago, Mekh Bahadur Rai of Sipting, Dhankuta Municipality-3, has been staying in a temporary shelter all these years, thanks to the lack of fund to build a permanent home. “I can take a loan but there is no way I can pay it later, so there is no option other than to keep waiting for the government-pledged subsidised loan for house construction,” Mekh Bahadur said. “I have around 50,000 rupees that I received as grant, but without further tranches or anything by way of subsidised loan, what can I do?” he asked. Another quake victim Chandra Rai of Dhankuta-2, Bhirgaun also voiced similar concerns. “How can I venture into house construction with the paltry sum of 50,000 rupees. I am not even sure I will get the pledged successive instalments?” reasoned Chandra, who hasn’t had the design of his house made. “I wouldn’t wait for help from others if I had money, but as there is no fund, I don’t have any option other than staying put in the temporary settlement,” he lamented. “My condition is desperate but I don’t know why the government has decided to provide subsidised house construction grant only to the victims of 14 districts,” he wondered, accusing the state of discriminating against them. It has been three years since Jaya Bahadur Rai of Bhirgaun started living in the open after his house was rendered uninhabitable by the tremor. “We have temporary homes made of tarpaulin and bamboo, but they can’t protect us from the harsh elements. Kids and the elderly are falling ill,” said Jaya Bahadur, who lives in a temporary shelter with his 16-member family. As per the data with the District Coordination Committee of Dhankuta, 4,492 households in the district have been identified as victims whose houses were completely destroyed in the quake. The government, however, is said to be preparing to provide the pledged grant of up to Rs 3 lakh in instalments to 2,400 victims it has identified as those whose houses were completely destroyed in the tremor on the basis of the evaluation conducted by district-based technicians. According to Dhankuta Municipality technician Kamal Karki, less than 100 victims have approached the office seeking the design of their house in the entire district so far.
Quake victims still deprived of grant
Published: 04:11 am Mar 01, 2018