Minister for Urban Development (MoUD) Narayan Khadka on Friday said that the ministry failed to keep records of tents and tarpaulins distributed to the quake victims “as the government was under extreme pressure to provide emergency relief to victims.”
Speaking at the Public Accounts Committee of parliament on Friday, Khadka said the government had made no preparations for the eventuality and hence had little time to purchase and distribute tents and tarpaulins to help the quake victims build temporary shelters. He said the ministry distributed some 27700 tarpaulins to the victims in a very short span of time and had no time to maintain the records. PAC had summoned Minister Khadka to furnish clarification regarding over 3,199 tarpaulins and tents that went missing during relief distribution.
“So, I urge the lawmakers also to consider the abnormal situation during the first few days of the April 25 earthquake before accusing the ministry of irregularities in distribution of tents and tarpaulins,” he said.
Arjun Karki, secretary at MoUD, who was also present at the committee’s meeting, said the ministry could not maintain records of tents distributed at 16 places identified by the government in the capital for building temporary shelters.
The ministry also claimed that some earthquake victims took away a few tents and tarpaulins by force.
After lawmakers at an earlier meeting suspected the ministry of trying to cover up irregularities in distribution of tents and tarpaulins, PAC had decided to summon the minister for clarification.
Currently, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority is investigating allegations against the Ministry of Urban Development of financial irregularities in the procurement of tents and tarpaulins.