KATHMANDU, April 16: It has been found that the number of households receiving housing grants meant for victims of 2015 earthquakes is higher than households recorded in national census.
According to the 55th Audit Report prepared by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), the number of households receiving housing grants in six of the most-affected 14 districts is 17.19 percent more than the number of households as per the census of 2011.
The report states that there are 52,551 more households in Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Ramechhap, and Dhading districts combined than in the last census.
As per the census of 2011, there are 298,953 households in these six districts. However, total beneficiary households of the reconstruction funds, according to National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), are 351,504. Out of this, only 321,676 beneficiaries have been identified. An additional 24,122 have been added after listening to grievances of the quake-hits, while another 5,709 households have filed application for retrofitting their houses.
The report suggests that the highest number of beneficiary households have been added in Dolakha whose numbers towers to 17,834 - a rise of 39.05 percent compared to the 2011 census. Likewise, the number of households in Sindhupalchowk is 26.11 percent more than the total surveyed households in 2011 census -- an additional 17,404 households than mentioned in the census. The number of households in Nuwakot, Ramechhap, Rasuwa and Dhading is also higher by 11,031, 2,149, 2,009 and 912 compared to data of 2011 census.“
"According to the 2011 census, average population growth in these districts is 27 percent. On the basis of this growth rate, an increase of 10 to 11 percent was expected by 2015. However, there has been a rise of 39.05 percent increase in four of the six districts in four years' time", states the report.
Of the 41,000 beneficiaries added in 14 districts two years ago on the basis of grievances filed by the victims, 24,122 are in these six districts.“
"As we have received an additional 143,000 grievances by mid-August 2017, the number of beneficiaries will increase further which cannot be considered normal," states the report.
This has shown flaws in the survey of quake victims conducted by the concerned authorities, according to the report.
Meanwhile, NRA has acknowledged that there are irregularities in the calculation of the number of beneficiaries for housing grants. NRA Spokesperson Manohar Ghimire says that the survey has suggested that population of some districts have increased unusually high.“
"The 2011 census did not include the population that was outside the district. Following the quake, however, those living outside the districts but having properties back home also applied for the housing grant. Also, some families have split which further increased the number of beneficiary households," said Ghimire.