DHADING, July 15: Purna Bahadur Chepang, an earthquake victim in Lautak, has been waiting for nine months for the second tranche reconstruction aid to complete his half-rebuilt house. “They told us that if we don't start rebuilding after taking the Rs. 50,000 we would be punished,” said Purna Bahadur adding, “We built the foundation and even put up the walls but now I don't have money to continue and I'm tired of waiting.”
This is a common plight among earthquake victims who began rebuilding their houses after government assurances of help. With the construction halted midway, Purna Bahadur's house has become overgrown with dense grass. Incessant rain has resulted in the degradation of the wood of the windows and doors. Even the walls have become covered by moss. “Those fifty thousand rupees and the hard work that we put in will all be swept away by this rain,” said Purna Bahadur. His family has been living under a tin roof ever since the catastrophic earthquake of 2015.
Around 25 houses of Benighat-Rorang Rural Municipality Ward.10 have remained incomplete, pending the second tranche of government aid. Day by day their condition has been deteriorating due to the continuous rain. Despite submitting the applications for the second tranche eight months ago, the service seekers have not yet received the amount, much to their disappointment. Some locals have managed loans from other sources to continue the reconstructions but many have no option but to wait for the government tranche.
Many candidates in the local elections assured the victims of taking initiatives for expediting the relief. However, they have not even shown their faces after the elections. “Innocent locals are always fooled by the government as well as by politicians,” said Hom Bahadur Shrestha, a local. The former VDC chairperson and engineers had pressured the victims to start the reconstructions immediately but no one had expected that they would have to wait so long for the second tranche to materialise.
In June 2016, Dr. Govinda Pokhrel, chief executive officer of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), had assured the victims they would be provided the second tranche immediately. The victims are still waiting.