SINDHUPALCHOWK, Aug 30: The much awaited first installment of government-promised quake grants is finally starting to reach the victims of Sindhupalchowk, one of the worst-hit districts by the catastrophic earthquake last year.
Victims from many villages of the district are receiving Rs 50,000, the first tranche of house reconstruction grant, finally after 16 months of the quake.
Earlier, the distribution of the grants was focused mostly in the district headquarters Chautara and western areas including Melamchi municipality.
“The first tranche of the grant is being released in many villages since the past one week,” informed Bhuwaneshwar Lamichhance, chief of the district's special contact office of National Reconstruction Authority (NRA). “Over 9,000 victims of various VDCs received their first tranche on Monday alone.
With this, over 31,500 victims of the district have already received their first installment,” he added.
Distribution of the grant had gathered pace after the field visit of Sushil Gyewali, chief executive officer of NRA, in the quake-ravaged villages of Sindhupalchowk. The declaration of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to distribute quake grants to 500,000 victims of 11 districts within 45 days also contributed to the speedy distribution.
Government authorities have expressed confidence that the grant distribution would gather pace very soon. “The quake distribution has finally gathered pace. We are hopeful that the speed would increase,” said Lamichhane, who is also the executive officer of Chautara Municipality. “I'm hopeful that we'll be able to distribute the first tranche within the 45 days as promised by PM Dahal.”
According to Lamichhane, quake victims of northern mountainous VDCs, including Hagam, Tatopani, Pangtang, Baruwa, Baskharka, Gumba, Gunsa, Golche, Chakati, Thulo Dhading, along with 29 VDCs are receiving their first tranche lately.
The grant distribution in Thauthali VDC in Sindhupalchowk district has come to a halt following disputes with the locals. Locals have expressed dissatisfaction claiming that the list of quake victims has excluded many genuine victims. Lamichhane said efforts are being made to resolve the issue.
However, the reconstruction works have not gathered pace in the district despite the distribution of the relief. Only limited number of people in Chautara, Barhabis and Melamchi can be seen working on reconstruction. Delayed reconstruction work is said to have been caused by monsoon, as the locals have to get involved in agricultural works when it rains.