Watchdog draws authority’s attention to one-roomed houses

  • Transparency International-Nepal alerts the reconstruction body about the suspected bid of families to build small houses to claim the grant

Feb 5, 2019-

A large number of houses being built by people in three earthquake affected districts are one-roomed buildings, which appear to have been built only to claim the government’s grant, the Transparency International-Nepal has said.

After conducting a field study in Rasuwa, Nuwakot and Dhading, the non-government anti-corruption watchdog said that quake survivors have used such houses to shelter their livestock rather than themselves.

A majority of the one-roomed houses measure 10 feet by 8 feet and a significant number of them have smaller space of 8 by 8 feet.

After spotting a large number of one-roomed houses, the TI-Nepal on January 27 wrote to the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) to draw its attention to the fact.

“There has been a widespread misuse of the grant provided by the government,” the TI-Nepal said in its letter.

“In order to misuse the grant received from the government, thousands of families have been separated and there has been fake reporting of damaged houses.”

According to TI-Nepal, a house should normally have space to accommodate four to five persons but such one-roomed shelters can hold hardly two beds and they are without kitchen and space for storing food and goods.

TI-Nepal officials said one-roomed houses are common in the upper belt of Rasuwa including the Gosaikunda and Parbatikunda (Aama Chhodingmo) rural municipalities.

“There is the presence of such houses in several parts of Nuwakot and Dhading too,” said Binod Bhattarai, an official at TI-Nepal, who oversees the matter.

However, the anti-corruption watchdog also said that such houses have been built in all the 14 districts heavily affected by the 2015 earthquakes.

“There is the possibility that some the one-roomed houses were built due to the insufficiency of money. But the construction of houses unsuited to live in large numbers has raised questions about the motive,” said Mukunda Bahadur Pradhan, secretary general at the TI-Nepal.

Officials at the rebuilding authority counter the claim saying that construction of one-roomed houses is not

so widespread. Manohar Ghimire, joint spokesperson for the NRA, told the Post that there are obviously some instances of construction of one-roomed houses but it should not be generalised.

“We have adopted the owner-driven reconstruction modality and people are free to build house as per their requirement where the government provides some support,” Ghimire said.

“We can accept construction of one-roomed houses for a single woman or elderly person but others should build houses that can accommodate all the family members.”

He, however, said the NRA would probe it if houses have been built just to get the government grant. The TI-Nepal has also alerted the NRA about people still staying in places recognised as vulnerable after the earthquakes.

Published: 05-02-2019 10:35

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