Quake victims put aside reconstruction for elections

Published On: November 14, 2017 06:45 AM NPT By: Narahari Sapkota

GORKHA, Nov 14: It has been more than two years since the catastrophic earthquake of 2015 rendered hundreds of locals in Gorkha homeless. Unfortunately, most of the victims are still living miserable lives in their makeshift tents. However, by putting aside their miseries and pain, the quake victims these days have geared themselves up for the preparations of the upcoming elections.

With local elections now less than two weeks away, the election fever has gripped the district. And a lot of the quake victims have taken this as an opportunity to forget their day to day problems at least for a while. They have started joining promotional campaigns along with the cadres and leaders of various political parties. The quake victims who were busy finding ways to rebuild their homes until recently have stalled their reconstruction plans so as to take part in the much-anticipated polls.

Bel Bahadur Tamang of Sirandanda, Ajirkot Rural Municipality-3, is looking for a candidate who can help him rebuild his home. "We are tired of living in tents. We will vote for the candidates who will ensure shelter for us," he said. Though the government was quick to announce relief, including reconstruction grant, receiving the grant was a real struggle for the victims. Besides that, the lack of transportation is another major problem for the people of the upper villages of the district.

Sher Bahadur Adhikari, 70, of Gorkha Municipality-13, has participated in several elections so far including the recently held local elections. In every election, candidates came to him and made larger than life promises but he says they were hardly fulfilled. "Despite voting for several candidates, I have not been able to experience much change in my locality, he said. The quake victims are encountering a lot of problems due to the lack of construction materials, manpower and various other infrastructures. This has delayed reconstruction. We don't care about parties; all we care about is their agendas and work plans," he added.

More than 55,000 houses in Gorkha were reduced to rubbles in the devastating earthquake. As per the details provided by the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), only 5% of the damaged houses have been reconstructed so far while few are under construction. But, the reconstruction of more than 50% houses is yet to begin. Being tired of the fake and unrealistic promises of the former candidates and leaders, locals this time are looking for genuine candidates who are really determined to work for the welfare of the quake victims as well as other people.

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