No money for storm from PM Relief Fund

Published On: April 3, 2019 03:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, April 3: While rainstorm victims in Bara and Parsa districts are desperately awaiting relief, the federal government has not yet released aid from its fund meant for people facing natural disasters.

It is said that there already is more than Rs 2 billion in the Prime Minister Relief Fund, the biggest government relief fund, set up to respond to natural disasters.

So far, the government has not held even a single meeting of the emergency fund, which is headed by the prime minister.

A cabinet meeting held on Monday immediately after Prime Minister K P Oli's visit to the storm-affected areas ended without taking any concrete decision about releasing money from the emergency fund. Unlike in the past, the federal government has not yet announced any relief package for the victims.

Meanwhile, the Province 2 government has announced to provide Rs 300,000 to the storm-hit family as interim relief and on Tuesday it decided to provide a pre-fab house each to the victims within four months. Various organizations, political parties and other provincial government have pledged their support.

When asked why the federal government has not pledged aid for the storm victims Binod Kumar Kunwar, spokesman at the Prime Minister's Office, refused to comment saying he was out of office. Secretaries at the PMO didn't clarify why the central government was not releasing money from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had dispatched some relief materials for the victims on Monday. The ministry's spokesperson Ram Krishna Subedi said the money for relief sent to District Disaster Coordination Committee remains unused and they can release more after receiving request from the affected districts. “Generally, each district disaster coordination committee requests us for fund when the aid deposit at the committee reaches as low as Rs 600,000 to Rs 700,000,” said Subedi.

Subedi said the ministry had released between Rs 1.5 million and 2 million to each district of the tarai to combat the cold wave. The money, according to home ministry, remains unused.

“I think the district relief coordination committees have not spent the money as this year's cold wave did not claim any life. It seems there is no lack of fund in the districts.”

Provincial governments pledge aid

Far-western provincial government on Tuesday said it would provide Rs 10 million to the storm victims. Also, the members of the provincial assembly will donate their one day's salary to the victims. “We want to help the storm victims,” said Internal Affairs and Law Minister Prakash Bahadur Shahi.

Meanwhile, Province 3 government has also announced to provide Rs 10 million for rainstorm victims in Bara and Parsa.

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