‘Classify houses on habitability basis’

- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, Kathmandu
‘Classify houses on habitability basis’

May 23, 2015-

The parliamentary sub-committees formed to monitor the government rescue, relief and recovery works have asked the government to review the current classification of quake-hit houses.

The government had earlier categorised the houses under two groups––destroyed and partially damaged. However, the lawmakers who submitted their reports to the Special Parliamentary Committee on Saturday said that the categorisation must be made based on the state of their habitability, whether they are fit to live in or not .

According to the lawmakers, there are thousands of houses in the 14 most-affected districts that are still standing, but unfit to live in.

The lawmakers said that only experts should be allowed to decide the state of the houses.

The data at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) shows that 500,041 houses were destroyed, while 269,156 houses were partially damaged.

The lawmakers have said that the government has not clearly defined what “partially damaged” houses mean.

“This has put the local authorities in quandary as they are now preparing to distribute the government announced Rs 15,000 cash package,” said CPN-UML lawmaker Bishnu Poudel, who led parliamentary sub-panel to inspect the houses in Lalitpur district. “Without preparing a scientific data, the decision of providing cash for constructing temporary shelters cannot be implemented effectively,” said Poudel, recommending the government to deploy technical teams with a mandate of collecting data within a week. The parliamentary sub-panels that inspected Kavrepalanchowk, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur and Rasuwa districts have also advised the same.

The lawmakers also pointed out that Rs 15,000 cash package was not sufficient for constructing temporary shelters when the victims from some of the districts have already received Rs 5,000 as immediate relief. “Those who’ve already received Rs 5,000 will now get only Rs 10,000.

The amount is not enough to buy two bundles of zinc sheets,” said Nepali Congress lawmaker Usha Gurung. “For a large family, it is impossible to construct temporary shelters with two bundles of zinc sheets.”

The lawmakers also said that the free treatment service to the earthquake injured has not been implemented effectively in all the districts.  “The government has not clarified on the role of government hospitals and private hospitals on free treatment. With hospitals financially struggling to provide free treatment, the government should pay the hospitals based on their bills,” the lawmakers have suggested in their report.

Lack of equipment in the quake-affected districts to remove the landslide debris is another pressing problem pointed out by the parliamentary sub-committees.

“Local authorities are facing severe problems due to the lack of equipment. The availability of equipment should be ensured before the monsoon as there are high chances of landslides,” said lawmaker Gurung.  

The parliamentary sub-panel that inspected Kathmandu district suggested the government to relocate the three prisons inside Kathmandu Valley to Nuwakot district. In its report, the sub-panel has said that around 5,000 prisoners are unsafe. The report of all 14 sub-panels will be deliberated in the Special Parliamentary Committee on Sunday.

Published: 24-05-2015 06:44

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