SINDHULI, Jan 22: It has been 56 months since the devastating earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit the country in 2015. In Sindhuli, not more than 55 percent of reconstruction works have completed, as per the data of the National Reconstruction Authority.
"A total of 21,207 houses have been built and the third installment of housing grant have been provided to those many families, which is 55.7 percent of the total number of beneficiaries, " said Surya Prakash Bista, acting chairperson of the district unit of the reconstruction authority. "The deadline is not far away, and we are in a rush," he added.
The government has targeted to complete the reconstruction of houses within 12 months from now. Given the progress, it looks unlikely to meet the target. According to Bista, several problems have delayed the reconstruction works.
Thousands of people had been rendered homeless by the catastrophic earthquakes of April 15 and its powerful aftershocks further damaged the structures.
It took time for the government to appoint the chief of the reconstruction authority and make it function. Even after that, the lack of technicians and construction materials hindered the reconstruction process.
That was not all. Quake victims lament that they could not meet the engineers on time when they wanted to show and approve the designs of their houses. The government later disapproved their designs and stopped releasing the installments of the housing grant. According to Bista, the reconstruction could not take pace due to a number of reasons.
In the first phase, the authorities had listed the names of a total of 34,279 beneficiaries in Sindhuli. Later, 28,626 beneficiaries filed complaint stating that their named were missing from the list. After verification, 5,572 new names were included in the list of beneficiaries.
It was not easy for the victims to make it to the list of beneficiaries. Recommendation of the engineers to that of the urban development office and also the district unit of the reconstruction authority is compulsory.
According to Parbati Sunuwar, vice chairperson of Fikkal Rural Municipality, even now some families claim that they could not get any relief from the government. Due to the poor handling of the entire reconstruction project, many have felt injustice for being left out.
"Some families had lost their only house while some others had lost even their lands. The earthquake and its aftershocks, followed by landslides affected a large number of people," she said.
Partially damaged houses were recommended for retrofitting by the reconstruction authority. A total of 14,700 houses have been listed under this project and each beneficiary is entitled to get Rs 100,000. However, the authority has not moved forward with this project.