'Fake flood victims' get relief grants in Surkhet, real ones ignored

Published On: May 26, 2019 03:00 AM NPT By: Nagendra Upadhyaya

SURKHET, May 26: The devastating flood that originated from the Bheri River washed away a whole settlement in Barahatal Rural Municipality-2, Thapadera, on August 14, 2014. A total of 10 people died in the flood while several others were injured.

Bhim Bahadur Giri of the same village lost his mother Chandra and father Dilaram in the disaster. As he and his wife were in Birendranagar doing labor, they managed to escape the nature's fury. As the flood washed away their home and land, they started living in Birendranagar.

The government has time and again formed committees for the rehabilitation of the flood victims and repeatedly announced relief for them. Last year, Bhim Bahadur received just Rs 50,000 in relief grants from the government to purchase land. Despite being a real victim and awaiting justice for such a long time, he could not be listed as a 'beneficiary' by the High-level Karnali Province Flood and Landslide Problem Resolution Committee. "It has been five years since we have been waiting for the government to provide us relief so that we can build our homes," Said Bhim Bahadur, adding, "But, ignoring the real victims like us, the government has been providing relief to fake victims."

The provincial government has sanctioned Rs 313 million in relief grants for the flood victims of Surkhet and the victims have started receiving the first tranche of the grant. In the first tranche, the beneficiaries will be provided Rs 150,000 each. As the government has started distributing the relief grant only to some of the victims, the real victims lament that they have been neglected by the government.

Sangita Nepali of Barahatal-2, Dubichaur, used to run her tailoring shop in a rented room at Thapadera. But the catastrophic flood damaged her shop. The District Administration Office (DAO) listed her as a victim getting partial compensation, while the provincial government has listed her as a victim getting rehabilitation.

"Those who lost nothing in the flood have been getting land from the government, while the real victims like us are only getting a partial relief," laments Nepali, adding, "This is injustice to us." The committee formed under the coordination of the Minister for Internal Affairs and Law of the province, Naresh Bhandari, has recently included the names of 43 beneficiaries who were not included in the list earlier.

According to the locals, most of the beneficiaries listed by the committee are not the actual victims. Yuvraj Karki, ward chief of Barahatal Rural Municipality-2, expressed his dismay over the provincial government for excluding the actual victims in the relief distribution. "This is injustice to the victims. This must be investigated," said Karki. He stressed the need for distributing relief to the victims by consulting with the ward offices and the flood victims committee. There are so many victims who have already been provided with half the relief amount but the provincial government has included them for rehabilitation. One such victim, Rana Bahadur Gurung, said, "I have filled one form. I don't need rehabilitation but more relief grant to complete my under-construction house."


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