Quake grant uncertain as many victims still without bank accounts

Published On: June 13, 2016 02:49 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

GORKHA, June 13: Even after over a year since the devastating earthquakes, many locals of Gorkha district, the epicenter, are not certain about receiving the government-promised grants for rebuilding their damaged or destroyed homes.

Many locals entitled to the grant amount of Rs 200,000 have yet to open their bank accounts. Lack of information about opening a bank account, failure of the concerned bank to reach out to the victims, and ineffective coordination between the government officials and banks are said to have caused the complications.

Stating that many victims still do not have bank accounts, Local Development Officer (LDO) Narayan Acharya said they are working to ask the government to provide his office the grant amounts for distribution among the victims who do not have bank accounts. Apart from the victims of Hansapur VDC, all the other VDCs have not received their first phase grant amount of Rs 50,000. The district has 60 VDCs and two municipalities.

On the other hand, Barpak VDC secretary Chet Prashad Amgain said that distribution of the relief amount to those without bank accounts may lead to further complications.

“Even those victims who receive relief amount without bank accounts also have to open the accounts and send the details to the VDC office. This will just lead to unnecessary hassles and may invite complications,” he said.

There are over a dozen 'A' category banks. The government has not provided them with clear instructions. None of the banks are clear about where it has been assigned for the distribution of quake relief.

“About 50 percent houses have already been reconstructed. Many quake victims are still hesitating to rebuild their houses fearing that they might have to forgo the grant. And their hopes of receiving the grant before the monsoon is fading fast,” added VDC secretary Amgain.

Meanwhile, Gangadhar Paudel, branch manager of Gorkha branch of the Rastriya Banijya Bank, said they are not able to go to the villages and provide their services in lack of clear instructions from the government.

“Of late, however, many victims are coming to us to open bank accounts. They know that a bank account is a must for receiving the grant money,” added Paudel.

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