Personal tools
You are here: Home News Analysis and Views Irregularities In Delivery Of Relief Supplies And Money
Log in

Forgot your password?

Irregularities In Delivery Of Relief Supplies And Money

Issue June 2015

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


Prime Minster Sushil Koirala had deliberately or unknowingly lost one great strategic advantage the merciless quake that hit Nepal on April 25, 2015 and the aftershocks continued even today gave him. He could have played a dominant role in delivering the supplies and money to the quake victims but he did not. He could have stamp out the corruption but he again did not. His administration had been facing one of the greatest corruption cases in the aftermath of the quakes particularly in the purchase and distribution of tents.


The quake of April 25, 2015 destroyed hundreds of thousands of houses and led millions of Nepalese homeless but it gave Mr. Koirala the unprecedented opportunity of leading the people to the new lives with vigor. If Mr. Koirala had shown a little bit of sincerity in running the administration following the rule of law and cutting off the corruption wherever he found and whichever the media reported he would have billions of not rupees but of dollars in his disaster relief fund. But the corruption had been the regular business for the Koirala administration. He pretended that he did not know his finance minister involved in the personal secretary of the finance minister sending the tin sheets back from Nuwakot to Kathmandu but the local people stopped it.


Mr. Koirala set aside the rule of law to follow the advices of his kitchen cabinet. How could we say that Mr. Koirala had followed the rule of law if he were not to do anything with the personal secretary to the finance minister for diverting the tin sheets reached Nuwakot for the quake victims? The chief district officer had also been the opinion of the personal secretary in question had almost succeeded in taking the tin sheets to Kathmandu.


Mr. Koirala was brave enough to be the member on the team of hijacking a plane that carried a load of banknotes of Nepal Bank for Biratnagar to the nearby-unused airport in India in 1960s to make available funding for his political party to fight against the despot Mahendra. Today, where had his courage gone when the country needed it the most? He could have run the administration single handily for rescuing and saving the quake victims. He could have fired the ministers that did not follow his order to assist the quake victims in building the new lives. Rather he made his dismal performances in coping with the quakes the talking subject in the media. He faced the outburst of anger of the people when he visited the historical site destroyed by the quake at Basantapur in Kathmandu after six days of the first quake. People did not want him. He was jeered.


The Nepalese media had come up with the drastic irregularities in the tent purchase and distribution. Based on the report prepared by the National Vigilant Center, the parliamentary committee on public accounts served a subpoena to the Urban Development Minister and the secretary to the ministry to question about it. Everybody knew the responsible minister was of the prime minister’s party but it was not the excuse for the minister to misappropriate the billions of rupees Nepalese had so generously donated or the taxpayers had paid. Certainly, the minister must have set aside some money for funding the prime minister’s party but again it was not the excuse for the prime minister not to fire such a minister. Prime Minster Koirala not only should fire the minister for but also put him behind bars. But Mr. Koirala was so generous to the ingeniously shams that he simply brushed off such a heinous crime of misusing the people’s money or simply he pretended that nothing had happened. As a result, irregularities in delivery of tents to the quake victims became the business as usual.


For the trickery of the Koirala government, the Nepalese folks in general and the quake victims in particular had been suffering. The quake victims had not received what the government had said to provide them. The government had said that millions of tents had been imported but some quake victims had to receive the tents, yet. The government also said that billions of rupees had been released from the Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund, and from the state treasury, too. But the quake victims had hardly received anything except for the Rs 15,000: ad hoc provision made for buying tin sheets. The quake victims in the interior areas had not received even the Rs 15,000, yet.


The news on the stated that various agencies had purchased 3.37 million tents at the price of Rs 1.77 billions according to the records of the custom department under the ministry of finance. The government had exempted the custom duty on those tents imported for the quake victims. Those tents were sufficient for distributing five tents to each quake-victim family. Some of the victims in the quake-affected districts had not received tents, yet not to mention five tents each quake-victim family receiving.


The news on the stated that the government had distributed less than 18.50 percent of the money released for distributing to the quake victims.

Released fund details:

•    Released by PM Relief Fund: Rs 12 billion

•    Released by Home Ministry: Rs 8.73 billion

•    Send to the 60 districts: Rs 3.53 billion

Delivery details

•    Construction of temporary shelters: Rs 2.52 billion

•    Relief amount given to the families of quake-dead: Rs 604 million

•    Additional relief for quake-damaged houses: Rs 372 million.


Where has gone the rest of the money? Following the media report, it made clear that the government had distribute Rs 3.496 billion out of the total money released was Rs 24.26 billion. Mr. Koirala as the prime minister needed to answer but why he should care about it. He had done the job of receiving the donations on camera, and released the billions of rupees in the name of the quake victims. He was not concerned with where the money has gone. That was the Koirala administration.


Then, why should the foreign donors donate even a dime to the Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund if the money were to go to the political party of the prime minister or parties of his coalition partners? So, it was not a surprise that even a dime did not go into the Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund for the relief of the quake victims. For any sincere prime minister it was a great humiliation not to have a single dime in his fund from the foreign donors. S/he would have immediately quit the office for the failure of not being able to secure even a single dollar for the quake victims. But for Mr. Koirala it was a business as usual.


The finance minister in cooperation with the foreign minister of the Koirala administration was holding a donors’ meeting on June 25, 2015 to mobilize a huge amount in dollars for rehabilitation of the quake-damaged lives of Nepalese. I did not know how much the donors would be convinced of the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) of the Koirala government and whether they would voluntarily invest in rehabilitating the damaged or destroyed drinking water schemes, hospitals, schools, state buildings, roads, historically and culturally important temples if they had to do through the Koirala administration. The government had been not only smart in misusing the State revenue but also very confident in portraying the damages and requirements a number of times more than the real ones in the past.


The donors would be ready to provide the quake victims with the necessary assistance but they might ask the government to do everything on their own in other words the donors themselves would like to directly reach the quake victims. They might like to rehabilitate the drinking water systems, hospitals, schools, temples and even private houses for the quake-caused homeless people. But the finance minister of the Koirala government was for the one-door policy means everything to the Prime Minster’s Disaster Relief Fund, and then the highly unaccountable ministers and their personal secretaries and official secretaries to the ministries would act on it. This would not surely be to the taste of the donors. The donor community did not want to waste their taxpayers’ money.


The Koirala administration had been deliberately or otherwise holding on the permission of rebuilding the houses collapsed, damaged and destroyed during the quakes. The administration had been reluctant to approve the building permits to the people to rebuild the houses even fallen during the quakes. The construction-materials producers, contractors and builders’ associations had already complained about the government not permitting the people building houses on their sites they had their houses before the quakes. The government not permitting the quake victims to reconstruct their houses forced them to stay on the temporary shades without the basic amenities of drinking water, cooking places, and defecating sites. This was the Koirala-administration-made disaster. Not permitting rebuilding of houses, the Koirala government had been holding hands of the constructors keeping the millions of labor idle.


The quake had damaged the national economy but the Koirala government had damaged it even more not allowing the post-quake construction. The country could have a new face if the government were not to bind the hands of the people to rebuild their lives after the quakes. Now, the quake victims losing their lifetime earnings and becoming homeless have to stay on in the temporary shelters and wait for the government to give the approval of constructing new houses.


How long the Nepalese would need to wait for the government to give the approval of constructing new houses had not been made clear either. Every person having a bit of knowledge of economy knew that the Nepalese had been losing millions of rupees worth of the economic activities daily due to the government not taking immediate actions on lifting the embargo on building new houses even after almost two months of the first heavily devastating quake hit Nepal.


Prime Minster Koirala had been courageous and smart enough to embargo the building of new houses. On whose advice, the prime minister had been preventing the people to build their lives. Did Koirala believe that binding the hands of people would benefit him? Mr. Koirala must not forget that millions of Nepalese living in temporary shades must be cursing him for not allowing them to build their houses not to mention for not giving resources required for building their lives anew. In such negative actions of not permitting the people work hard on rebuilding their lives, Mr. Koirala had surely sinned.


June 18, 2015

Document Actions