January 10, 2018 11:56 AM NPT
By: Suresh Yadav
JANAKAPURDHAM, Jan 10: Police and the local administration are seen busy arranging bonfires in public places to keep the locals warm as the cold spell started taking the tarai districts in its grip. Houses of the poor and marginalized people are being increasingly visited by representatives of various organizations for offering relief these days.
With the cold spell taking toll on normal life especially in the tarai districts, there has been an unhealthy competition among various organizations for distributing relief materials and donations. However, the stakeholders are hardly concerned about long-term solution to the problem despite being aware that this freezing temperature is a regular cycle of weather.
Dhanusha's Chief District Officer (CDO) Dilip Chapagain admitted that the authorities are lagging behind when it comes to finding out long term solution to cold-related problems.
"Just by distributing blankets and clothes won't be enough to solve the problems of the poor permanently," said CDO Chapagain.
Every year, it has been observed that a considerable number of people die in winter due to lack of warm clothes and proper shelter. Biting cold throws normal life out of gear. This is not an unpredictable situation. Locals say that it is the responsibility of the government to provide warm clothes to destitute and poor who cannot afford to buy such things. But it has been found that some unscrupulous people take advantage of this facility and snatch away the relief materials meant for the poor.
Giving the example of Dhurmus-Suntali Foundation, Chapagain said, "If those artists can secure the lives of 50 households by spending Rs 5 millions, it's not an impossible task for 18 locals units of Dhanusha to do so for the suffering people," he added.
According to him, if the local units succeed in doing so, the victims will no longer have to wait for blankets and warm clothes from next winter onward.
Meanwhile, Mayor of Dhanushadham Municipality, Baleshwor Manadal, says that blankets and warm clothes alone cannot protect the people from dying of cold. Shelter, according to him, is the first and foremost need of the people during cold.
Two days ago, an organization named Asman Nepal urged Mayor Mandal to distribute 200 blankets in the municipality but he refused to do so.
"There are 30 Dalit communities in this municipality and a least 1,000 of them are destitute. How can I distribute those 200 blankets to all of them?" Mayor Mandal questioned.