Quake victims yet to get grants even after building homes as per rules

Published On: November 4, 2018 02:15 AM NPT By: SHUVAM DHUNGANA

KATHMANDU, Nov 4: Bishnumaya Sunar, a permanent resident of Kageshwari Manahara-9, has already rebuilt her house, which was destroyed by earthquake in 2015, as per the government rules but has received only the first installment of Rs 50,000 of the housing grant provided by the government.

She has been frequenting government offices for months to receive the other two installments of the grant, but in vein.

She started rebuilding her house three years after the devastating earthquake. She invested money on her own with the hope that she will receive the full grant after completing the construction of her home. 

But it has been more than four months since she completed the construction of the house as per the rules set by the government but she still has not got the remaining two installments, she said. According to her, she took a loan of Rs 1 million from a local club to rebuild her home and she is paying an interest of Rs 13,000 a month.

“I took the loan with the hope to receive the government grant and now I have to visit the ward office daily for the update,” she said. “I took a loan of Rs 1 million for the reconstruction and now I am facing difficulty in paying the interest which is Rs 13,000 per month and I am still unsure when will I receive the grant.”

Like her, many others who have already reconstructed their houses, are still in confusion and waiting for the second and third installments of the housing grant. As per the data maintained by the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), 46,962 people were found eligible for the grant in Kathmandu district alone. Of them, 40,357 have received the first tranche. The number of those who received the second tranche is 12,467. Only 7,785 have received the third tranche as well.

Why are they deprived?
Samar Bahadur Khanal, chief district engineer of Kathmandu, said that there are many reasons due to which the quake victims haven’t received the full grant in time. 

“First, we have limited number of engineers to work in the field of reconstruction. So, that has also caused delay in the reconstruction work,” Khanal told Republica. “The other reason is that most of the victims have failed to meet the government criteria while constructing their houses.” 

According to him, some of them haven’t been able to endorse house maps due to the lack of sufficient land to reconstruct the building as per the government rule. 

Some of the victims were found residing in public land without proper documents. “We cannot provide grants to such people who can’t produce the required documents,” he said.

According to him, a meeting of engineers was organized on October 31 where engineers of all the wards participated and discussed the major problems in distributing the grant and also discussed as to why fewer people have been able to get the second and third installments. At last, they concluded that most of those who had failed to get the second and third installments have not built their houses as per the criteria set by the government.

Deepa Karki, chief of the reconstruction branch of Kageshwari Manahara Municipality, told Republica that if the house owners provide all the required documents, it doesn’t take more than a month to receive the grant.“But sometimes it takes time mainly due to the lack of proper documents and various other procedural matters,” she explained. 

She added that many claimants don’t process the things on their own. They instead take the help of engineering consultancies which take the full responsibility of making maps and help in getting the grant from the government.

 “But, we often find that they do negligence and don’t work sincerely and at the end the house owners can’t get the government grant in time,” she said.

Not only in Kathmandu district but also in Bhaktapur and Lalitpur, the number of people receiving the second and third tranches is very fewer than the number of those who received the first tranche. 

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