PALPA, April 27: April 25, 2015 is recorded as one of the worst memories in the living history of Nepal. People living in various parts of the country saw their houses crumble down to rubble and their loved ones crying from underneath the debris. It has already been three years but sadly, not even a single quake-damaged house has been completely reconstructed in Palpa.
A survey was conducted on a total of 10,398 households of which 4,652 were eligible for the reconstruction grant. But there is no record of the reconstructed houses. Currently, only 330 houses are under construction. So far, only 21 service seekers have claimed the third tranche of the reconstruction grant provided by the government. Similarly, 264 people have claimed the second tranche while 829 have got the first tranche. Nirmal Pyakurel, project manager at District Project Implementation Unit informed Republica that the pace of reconstruction has been really disappointing in the district. But he assured to form a unit to speed up the reconstruction process.
The earthquake had mainly affected Sahalkot and Sukekot of Nisdi Rural Municipality. A large number of houses here were completely destroyed while many were partially damaged. Sukekot had been equally beaten by the earthquake of 1934 as well. Keshav Bahadur BK of Mathagadhi Rural Municipality-4, Bagale started constructing a concrete house after the government assured to provide the housing grant. He has already received the first tranche of the grant. As per his estimated expenditure, he had expected to complete the construction of his house within Rs 5 00,000. Unfortunately, his estimate failed as he has already spent more than Rs 130,000 and his house is only built half.
However, he has not been able to receive the second tranche of the grant. "The government offered us a ray of hope but that was not enough to fulfill our dreams," said BK. He informed Republica that he is compelled to take loans at high interest to build a quake-resilient house. Though the government had assured the people to provide wood and other construction materials on 90% discount, the victims lament they have been neglected by the government.
Meanwhile, the victims of Nisdi Rural Municmipality-2, Sahalkot, lament that the construction of their houses has been delayed due to technicians. The government has assured to provide technical support to the victims but that has not really been a support for the victims.
National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has deployed one engineer and one overseer in 10 local units of the district. Recently, 100 locals of Nisdi Rural Municipality and Tansen Rural Municipality were provided weeklong masonry training. This is expected to be a great help for speeding up reconstruction.
Though the government had deposited the first tranche of the reconstruction grant in the victims' accounts, still the reconstruction could not be speeded up due to unavailability of technical manpower. There are some victims who have not been able to claim their relief due to the lack of legal documents.