The Government has started dispatching foods and other relief materials for the quake victims of Kathmandu through land routes from Friday. However, relief goods sent from air routes have been blocked at district headquarters due to the lack of distribution mechanism at the local levels.
A total of 35 trucks loaded with relief goods that included rice, salt, noodles, water cans and other necessities were dispatched from National Trading Limited office in Ramsahapath on Friday, according to secretary to the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies Naindra Prasad Upadhaya.
Minister for Commerce and Supply Sunil Bahadur Thapa, who is entrusted to coordinate the relief program, claimed that relief goods have been stuck at various district headquarters due to the lack of distribution mechanism. “The government has decided to mobilize a team comprised of personnel from Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force under the leadership of joint-secretary of the government of Nepal to distribute relief goods electoral constituency-wise,” said the Minister.
Though government has decided to distribute relief packages with the help of all-party mechanism in the local level, a member of all-party mechanism in Bandegaun of Sindhupalchok said arrival of relief package to their village is still uncertain.
“Many families in our areas have been spending nights in the open. We urgently require Tents or tarpaulins but no government response has arrived thus far,” Gopal Prasad Koirala told Republica.
Political parties have even started pressing the government to provide relief goods at the earliest.
UCPN (Maoist) leader Baburam Bhattarai wrote on his Facebook page after visiting outskirts of Kathmandu that he could not imagine the plights of victims in other districts as many people inside Kathmandu have yet to receive any relief goods.
CPN-UML lawmaker Rameshwor Phuyal, represents constituency no 3 of Kathmandu, said that no state distributed relief goods has reached his area.
As the government has strictly instructed the central bank to distribute money collected in the name of quake victims, there is widespread apprehension that the money may remain unused in the fund while the victims live difficult lives.
Govinda Raj Pokhrel, coordinator of the committee that oversees the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund, said the government has taken initiatives to distribute the collected money to those who need it the most.
“We deposited 1.5 billion rupees to the prime minister’s relief fund at once at the very beginning and we have already released money to the affected districts ranging from 30 million to 100 million rupees,” Pokhrel told Republica. “The money is distributed to various districts in advance and later the local authorities can reimburse it.”
He claimed that the money collected in the name of victims will not remain idle in the fund for months or years unlike previous times.