Analysis

Quake victims falling on hard times to repay debt they borrowed to build damaged houses

Taranath Acharya

baglung

Balewa, Baglung, 13 March (2019) – Victims of the earthquake of April, 2015 of Jaimini municipality in Baglung district are finding it hard to repay the debt they borrowed to rebuild their damaged houses, thanks to government’s failure to provide them the housing grants. The government is denying them the grant under various pretexts, they complained.

Sumitra Srish of Jaimini municipality-10, whose house was destroyed by the quake, spent more than Rs 400,000, which she borrowed, to build a two-room house. But she has got only the first tranche of Rs 50,000 under the housing grant. “I did not have a roof over my head. I built a house by borrowing the money before the government set the housing standards. I am now finding it difficult to repay the debt,” she said.

Likewise, another quake survivor Kala Bhandari has yet to receive the remaining tranches except the first installment. She said she was denied the remaining tranches as the authorities said her new house did not follow the housing standards. She knew about it when she visited Citizen’s Bank branch in the district to withdraw the remaining tranches.

The quake survivors who built house before the procedure for constructing house was introduced lie in pain as the NRA District Project Implementation Unit discontinued with the reconstruction grant those rebuilding the house in the design not abiding by the building code that was introduced by the government post Gorkha Earthquake.

The victims grieve that they did not receive further grant after they built one-storey house. Krishna Bahadur Rana of Jaimini Municipality-1 said,” We built the house after soliciting suggestions from the technical experts but the grant was discontinued. Some people even received second installment of grant but ours was stopped citing our design did not comply with the standards.”

The Unit has urged those beneficiaries receiving the second installment of grant and reconstructing the house not compliance with housing standards. A total of 235 houses were already built in Jaimini area that were built abiding the government-set design, said Engineer Pankaj Kumar Das.

Ramashish Sah, officiating Chief at NRA, District Project Implementation Unit Baglung, said, “Distribution of reconstruction grant is facing issue for lack of work procedure, directives to provide grant to those beneficiaries building house before work procedure was introduced.

Of the total 2,375 beneficiaries registered in Baglung, only 519 had receive third installment of grant while 2,105 have received first installment of grant and 993 second installment, according to Sah. RSS

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