KATHMANDU, Dec 31: Various political parties and charity organizations working in Kathmandu have collected over Rs 1.46 million to assist fire victims of Atharai, Tehrathum.
Three major political parties -- Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) -- and other charitable organizations have intensified donation collection campaigns.
On December 16, as many as 26 houses were destroyed in the fire, rendering 176 people from 73 families homeless. The massive fire that broke out at Agni Sedhai's house had gutted property worth around Rs 150 million.
Tehrathum Sarokar Samaj Nepal, a civil society organization, has collected around Rs 800,000 from various business firms, corporations and companies. "We have collected Rs 800,000 from different business firms, corporations and companies for the fire victims of Atharai Bazaar," said Yogendra Kurumbang, treasurer of the Samaj.
NC's Tehrathum-Kathmandu Samparka Samiti collected around Rs 500,000 from various individuals and corporations for the fire victims, according to Samiti President Ganesh Gimire.
Kedar Gautam, chairman of CPN-UML Tehrathum Kathmandu Samparka Manch, said that the organization has collected around Rs 100, 000 so far.
Maoist party's sister organization, Tehrathum Upatyaka Janasamparka Manch, has also collected Rs 60,000.
Immediately after the disaster Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi had inspected the fire-hit region. On that occasion, the government had distributed 55 tarpaulins, 117 mattresses, 95 pieces of blankets, 10 kitchen sets, one generator, 56 water purifiers and four sacks of ropes. Apart from this, the government has also provided Rs 10,000 in cash, 15 kg of rice, 3 kg of beaten rice, 2 kg of lentil, 2 liters of oil and 200 grams of tea dust to each of the victims through the District Natural Disaster Rescue Committee, added Basnet.
The fire-victims are rendered homeless in the absence of adequate relief to rebuild fire gutted houses. Since the Sakranti Bazaar, which is six hours walk from district headquarters, Myanglung, lacks government's banking service and victims are in trouble after the government decided to distribute collected fund only through Nepal Bank Limited.
"We are facing problems in deposing the collected donation as there is not any government bank in Atharai Bazaar and we have to reach the district headquarters Myanglung for the purpose which is almost 6 hours walk (3 hours drive) from here," lamented Prem Paudel, member of Sakranti Bazaar Agnipidit Rahat Sankalan Tatha Bitaran Samiti.
He also expressed reservations over the one-door policy for relief distribution, especially cash relief, maintained by the government.