SINDHUPALCHOWK, Sept 8: Over 6,500 earthquake victims have yet to start rebuilding their quake-destroyed houses in Sindhupalchwok district due to procedural delays by the government.
Out of the total 83,663 victims registered as beneficiaries for the housing grant in the initial stage, 6,550 victims have not even started reconstruction work, according to a report prepared by the District Project Implementation Unit under the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA).
Over 5,000 victims have not even signed the housing grant agreements. Likewise, of the 78,520 victims who signed the agreements, 838 have yet to start rebuilding their houses even after collecting the first installment of the grant, Rs 50,000. Similarly, due to errors in the agreement paper, 199 people have yet to receive the first installment.
According to District Project Implementation Unit Chief Tanka Prasad Gautam, victims have different problems. “There is not just one specific problem,” he said adding, “For identifying the problems and resolving them, a survey needs to be conducted in all wards in the district.”
NRA has begun distributing grant to those victims whose houses developed cracks and there was no room to construct another houses, to buy new land. Such victims will be provided an additional Rs 200,000 to buy additional land. Also, many earthquake victims in the district have been deprived of housing grants because the land plots where they live is owned by the Guthis [land-based trusts].
NRA officials, however, say that the housing reconstruction wouldn't be stopped if locals have proofs showing that they are the tenants of the Guthi land. In the absence of evidence, grants can be acquired on the basis of first inquiry reports from neighbors. Gautam said, “But we haven't been able to convey this information to the earthquake victims living on Guthi-owned lands and this has further delayed the grants distribution and reconstruction work.”
Shortage of sufficient laborers, expensive construction materials and black marketing in construction materials, road blockages caused by floods and landslides have also delayed the reconstruction work.
According to a calculation by the DPIU, 77,513 houses in the district are under construction. Altogether 76,360 have received second installment of the grant while 48,889 have collected all three installments. The report also states that many problems still remain in the reconstruction process.
In the final stage, an additional 3,000 earthquake victims have been listed as eligible for the housing grant. With this, the total number of eligible beneficiaries in the district has reached 83,971.