GORKHA, July 17: Twenty six months have passed since the locals of Gorkha, the epicenter of the April 25 earthquake, have been living miserable lives in temporary shelters. Under the recommendation of the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, the District Coordination Committee (DCC) has sent the third installment of the reconstruction grant to the Financial Comptroller General's Office before releasing the amount to around 500 eligible victims.
"Fifty five thousand households have received the first installment of housing grant but only 6,000 have received the second installment. Out of them, only 498 are eligible to get the third installment," said local development officer and Chief of DCC Narayan Acharya.
The third installment was supposed to be distributed in Gorkha on Sunday but Rs 2 billion out of the sanctioned Rs 3 billion have been returned back. The grants could not be distributed due to the victims not building homes even those built so far have not met the government criteria.
The locals are not excited to rebuild their homes because of the low grant, lack of finance to build quake resilient houses, high cost of transportation and labor in rural areas.
"Although the victims have made houses on their own, they haven't come to claim the reconstruction grants fearing that they do not meet the criteria of quake resilient house," said Roshan Shrestha, chief of the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction.
Around 8,000 families have claimed for the second installment. The reconstruction grant must be recommended by the erstwhile Village Development Committee and then forwarded to the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction.
Life has become tough for these locals in Gorkha as their temporary shelters cannot protect them from harsh weather any longer. "How can we make a house with just Rs 50,000?" questioned a local of Sulikot Rural Municipality, Santa Bahadur Gurung. He wished that he could receive the grant all at once rather than receiving it in installments.
Nearly three thousand people have started living in their old homes after being affected by the Budhi Gandaki Project. They are not in a mood of building new houses as the project might displace them soon.
Transportation is very difficult in rural areas of Gorkha as it hard to supply the needed materials to quake affected areas near the Tibet border. The cost of skilled labor is very high and the transportation cost to Barpak, the epicenter of the quake, is also high. These multifaceted problems along with the rain have made it unlikely for the quake victims to build their homes and live a happy life once again.