Conundrum of Reconstruction Nepal

Editor Prem Kumari Pant

Editor The Weekly Mirror, Nepal

A year has completed since the first major earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale ravaged the country on April 25, 2015.

The devastating quake killed almost 9,000 people and causing massive suffering and distress to millions more.

But it is more than heart-wrenching to note that the government is yet to undertake any reconstruction work. Otherwise, as many as770,000 homeless families would have been still struggling in temporary shelters.

In fact, whatever has been done in terms of reconstruction and rebuilding has been the result of peoples own initiative.

On the first anniversary of the earthquake, only less than two percent of quake victims have gotten any government help.

Recently the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also launched into a blistering attack on the government mechanisms for “unwarranted delays” in relief distribution, reconstruction and rehabilitation of earthquake victims.

There are several factors behind the appalling tardiness in delivering the much-needed support to the quake survivors

For many months the legislation to form the Nepal Reconstruction Authority (NRA) was stuck in limbo due to a dispute between the Nepali Congress and the CPN UML Such dispute had much do with their covert desire to have their hands in the honey pot of reconstruction budget.

Even after the NRA was formed, many months were wasted collecting data on affected households, though this data had been collected immediately after the earthquake.

At the same time, the K.P Oli government found it pretty convenient to blame India for its tardy post-quake response.

Of course, the illicit Indian blockade coupled with Terai unrest hindered the shipment of vital construction materials needed to rebuild the homes of quake victims into the country. But the government was just making a lame excuse by pointing out figure at the Indian government Even before the start of the Indian blockade on September 20th, 2015, the had faded to offer any substantial help to the quake victims.

Political flippancy and bureaucratic incompetence led to a situation where the NRA is still not being fully functional with the lack of required staffs.

On the other side, the NGOs and INGOs involved in post-earthquake efforts seem ti’ted towards capitalizing upon the idea of reconstruction for their own ulterior motIves. There is not an iota of transparency as to how they are sending billions of rupees meant for rebuilding and for what purpose It is strongly suspected that these organizations are operating in the quake-affected districts just to facilitate some western nations to meet their sly geo-strategic and other hegemonic interests vis-a-vis Nepal.

During the last year’s chilling winter a number of the homeless victims died because of the lack of the needed warmth and protection. The rainy season was as terrible as the tarpaulin tents provided little protection against heavy rain. With this years monsoon nearly at hand, there are likely to be more casualties, especially among vulnerable groups like the children and the elderly if the reconstruction is not started immediately.

Thanks Weekly Mirror, Nepal: Ed.

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