Lengthy grants process a big hassle for quake victims

July 9, 2016 03:05 AM DHRUBA DANGAL

SINDHUPALCHWOK, July 9: Earthquake victims in Sindhupalchowk district have been facing problems getting their reconstruction grants even though the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has started the grants distribution process.

The victims can get the grant amount only after completing lengthy bank procedures which are full of hassles, according to the locals.

We have come to realize that the process for contract signing and release of the first installment of the grant is lengthy, Bhuwaneshwar Lamichhane, chief of NRA's liaison office said, adding that the hassles will lessen from the second installment. Out of 78,000 earthquake victims, NRA has signed contacts with 37,888 families so far, he said. NRA has released the first installments of Rs 50,000 to the bank accounts of only 1,195 victims, according to him.

The victims have to submit earthquake victim cards, citizenship ceftificates, land ownership certificates, photos and other documents at the Village Development Committee (VDC) offices to initiate the grants process. The official process is very lengthy and slow, locals complained. The VDC offices see long queues of beneficiaries. Only after working some eight desks at the VDC office does the process get completed. And it is only after two months of this process that they receive their first installment.

All 16 banks operating in the affected districts have received approval for opening accounts for the victims. Although the banks have opened 24 branches in the district, these are mostly at district headquarters and roads damaged by monsoon rains have forced villagers from Gumba and Golchee VDCs to walk some three days to reach the headquarters.

To add to their predicament, this is also the time when most villagers need to plant their rice. With the monsoon now under way, many farmers are yet to process their grants.

According to Lamichanne, 17 VDCs have completed the grant process, 25 VDCs are still in the middle of the process, and 18 VDCs have not even started.

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