GORKHA, Feb 11: Some quake victims in Gorkha have started running away from their elected representatives as the latter started pressurizing the former to rebuild their houses at the earliest possible.
Shankar Raj Kandel, ward chief of Palungtar-8, who was reaching out to the beneficiaries of the government's quake grant urging them to wrap up the reconstruction work soon said, "Some five households listed as beneficiaries live outside the village. I called them repeatedly to compel them to rebuild their house but they have started ignoring my calls now." He informed Republica that almost 85% of houses wrecked by the catastrophic earthquake of 2015 have been rebuilt in his ward.
By completing the remaining houses, he is planning to make his ward the first in the district to wrap up the reconstruction work. However, he is worried that some of the beneficiaries in his village will not let that happen. "Earlier, they used to complain that they have been excluded from the list of beneficiaries. Now, when we have handed them the grant they have been finding ways to run away from us," said ward chief Kandel.
According to him, some 20 households have not even laid the foundation of their houses and some who have accepted the first tranche of the grant but have not started constructing their houses have gone out of contact. As per the rule imposed by the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), those who fail to reconstruct the house within the given deadline will have to return the first tranche of the grant provided by the government.
Around 172 households in Palungtar Municipality have been listed as beneficiaries but they have not signed the agreement for the grant. These people neither have started building their houses nor have shown any signs of returning the first tranche. Altogether 876 households in the district have not even started constructing their houses despite accepting the first tranche of the grant. "It is hard to find such beneficiaries in villages these days," said Deepak Kandel, Mayor of Palungtar Municipality.
It has been a headache for the representatives to find such people so that they could complete the reconstruction work on time. There are altogether 8,695 beneficiaries in Palungtar but around 1,000 of them have not begun the construction work yet. "Sluggish work of some quake victims has affected the overall progress of the municipality," said Ramsaran Acharya, chief of Grant Management and Local Infrastructure Development Office, Gorkha.