KATHMANDU, March 7: As the number of complaints from earthquake victims is increasing with each passing day, the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has been preparing to investigate the complaints through the chief district officers in all 14 most-affected districts.
A district-based complaints committee under the CDO has been receiving complaints from victims as per the existing guidelines and the committee will additionally investigate the complaints as per the new plan.
The NRA has so far received over 205,200 complaints related to the reconstruction grant amounts, from the 14 worst-affected districts. NRA has initiated the process of addressing 93,374 of the complaints.
“The complaints piling up at NRA are only delaying the sorting-out process. So, we are planning to hand over the investigation process to the CDOs,” Govinda Raj Pokharel, CEO of NRA, told Republica.
Pokharel informed that they have been preparing to decentralize the sorting out so that victims can get a proper response in time. “Investigating the complaints solely through photographs of the sites didn't make sense,” he said. “It would be better if we could investigate complaints directly at local level. The CDO offices can conduct proper investigations locally.”
He further informed that NRA is planning to amend the guidelines and it will request the body concerned to provide technical manpower to the CDO offices for helping with the investigations. He also said that slowness in sorting out the complaints has prevented many eligible victims from receiving their housing grants.
“We don't have enough manpower at the central office (in Singha Durbar). Other post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation work at the office has been hampered also,” he said.
A source at NRA said there have been various news reports about how non-victims have received housing grants. NRA has initiated the decentralization process to stop the non-victims from getting the grant amounts.
“The fake victims will not be able to get any grants after the new plan kicks in,” the source said requesting anonymity. “CDOs can directly investigate such cases.” NRA had issued a public notice in the first week of February to warn fake victims from taking the grants.
NRA data shows that the majority of complaints registered are from quake victims whose names have been left out from the list of those eligible for grants or whose houses have been left out in the victim identification survey.