'NRA labels severely damaged houses as partially damaged'
April 12, 2018 11:05 AM NPT
By: Daman Rai
KHOTANG, April 12: The four-member family of Chetra Bahadur Karki of Halesi Tuwachung Municipality-1 in Khotang district spent nearly three years inside a tarpaulin tent in hope that the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) would aid them to rebuilt their quake-ravaged house.
“My family has been staying inside tarp since the quake. After seeing other quake victims receiving the grant, I hoped I too would get it,” said Karki.
However, it was not to be so. Despite having bad cracks around all four corners of his house, engineers deployed by the NRA did not deem it worthy for reconstruction grant. Karki then filed complaint at the ward office. “But the problem has not been addressed yet,” he said.
As the process of receiving the household grants lingers, Karki is preparing to construct his house himself by taking loan.
Tanka Shrestha of Rupakot Majhuwagadi Municipality-4 is another quake victim whose house was severely damaged by the devastating Gorkha earthquake of 2015. Initially, he received a red card after it was deemed that his house was not in a habitable condition. However, evaluation from engineers from NRA considered it as partially damaged house.
“It felt like an injustice when they changed the status of my house from severely damaged to partially damaged,” said Shrestha.
At a time when most of the quake victims in the district are waiting to receive the second tranche of grant, some of the victims still are not sure of receiving the first tranche of the grant. Many of the victims have expressed dissatisfaction over the evaluation of NRA engineers. They have reached out to the District Coordination Committee with the picture of their destroyed houses for re-evaluation.
“The situation is very difficult for those whose houses were completely destroyed by the quake but still have not received even the first tranche of the grant,” said Rudra Rai, ward chairman of Halesi Tuwachung Municipality-1.
According to the ward chairman, many victims who have been left out of the grant have filled out complaint form as per instruction of the NRA. “However, the complaints have not been addressed. NRA hasn't taken any step to address the complaints,” added Rai.
There is no record of those locals who lost their homes in the quake but are deprived from the housing grant. However, there are many victims who were given red card status in the first phase but later re-evaluated and given partially damaged status only. Many of those victims have expressed dissatisfaction as uncertainty persist over construction of their quake ravaged houses.