Prepare for monsoon: MPs

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

May 10, 2015-

Lawmakers on Sunday asked the government to maintain adequate stocks of essentials and ensure a reliable transportation mechanism so that earthquake victims would not face further hardships during the upcoming rainy season.

They have also criticized the government for not supplying relief materials uniformly among the sufferers.

Speaking at a meet organised by the Committee on Commerce, Industries and Consumer Welfare Relation, lawmaker Subhash Chandra Thakuri accused the government of just highlighting the quantity of relief materials sent to the affected people instead of focusing on an effective distribution mechanism.

“The government lacks proper information on the actual number of houses damaged or destroyed, and it has not been able to send relief goods to the people as per their population or family size,” he said.

The government has been supplying relief materials at the local level through the Natural Disaster Relief Committee in coordination with the Chief District Officers. However, a large number of people in remote villages have received very little or nothing at all.

Lawmaker Nagendra Tharu criticised the government for failing to coordinate properly with private sector institutions with regard to relief distribution. “As some private sector organisations have been distributing relief materials on a communal basis without government coordination, people belonging to certain communities have received a lot while others have not got even the bare minimum,” he said.

Lawmaker Rajya Laxmi Shrestha said the government could not provide relief materials even to people in the Kathmandu valley. She also blasted the government’s lack of preparedness. “Although many awareness programmes had been conducted before the earthquake, there is almost no preparedness regarding casualties,” she added.

Lack of proper identification of the types of buildings destroyed, failure to involve lawmakers in the relief distribution mechanism, poor market monitoring to control black marketing and lack of regard for neighbouring houses while dismantling wrecked buildings, among others, were the major concerns that the lawmakers raised at the committee meeting.

Meanwhile, the government said that it had been working to manage sufficient supplies of essentials with an eye on the upcoming rainy and festival seasons.

Commerce Minister Sunil Bahadur Thapa said he had asked the finance minister to manage funding to buy adequate stocks of essentials during the monsoon. Admitting that there had been some flaws in relief distribution at the grassroots level, Thapa said the government had been trying to supply essential goods through the District Administration Office as per local demand.

Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supply Naindra Prasad Upadhyay said there were enough food stocks for six months and enough medicines for three months.

Similarly, Shambhu Koirala, director general of the Department of Commerce and Supply Management, said controlling black marketing in food, medicines and construction materials was the main challenge at present.

“In addition, there is a need to focus on supply management during the approaching rainy season as there could be great disruption in transportation due to landslides and fissures in the roads caused by the earthquake,” Koirala said.

Published: 11-05-2015 08:17

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