Bhaktapur, Apr. 7: All four municipalities in Bhaktapur district have been working separately to provide relief packages to labourers, daily wage earners and poor families and helping them to wear smiles on their faces.
Since the enforcement of lockdown by the federal government to stop the possible spread of global coronavirus pandemic, poor and labourers have been facing insecurity as they lost their job.
Municipalities – Bhaktapur, Suryabinayak, Changunarayan and Madhyapur Thimi have allocated budget for crisis management and have been working as per the need of the people.
Local representatives in Bhaktapur district are spending their time visiting households to generate awareness about the risk of the virus, asking them to stay indoors and providing them relief aid.
Mayor of Suryabinayak Municipality Bashudev Thapa said that the municipality had already distributed relief cards to 6,000 households and started the distribution of relief materials on Sunday.
He said 3,000 households received packages on Sunday that included rice, lentils, salt, cooking oil, beaten rice and soap.
“The remaining 3,000 families will receive the materials on Monday,” he informed. “The relief aid provided presently is enough only for a week and if the lockdown goes on for another week, there will be another round of aid distribution.”
The households have been divided into two categories. Those working as daily wage labourers, engaged in the construction of roads and brick kilns, and labourers are in the first category, according to Thapa.
A Disaster Management Committee has been formed in all 10 wards in the Municipality to fight against the present crisis, Thapa informed.
Local representatives have reached every household in every ward to make them feel the presence of local government, he said. “We are asking them to stay indoors until there is an urgency,” he informed.
According to Som Prasad Mishra, Mayor of Changunarayan Municipality, they had listed 4,017 households for relief package distribution. The distribution started on Friday and will continue for another few days, Mishra informed.
In the Municipality, some 40 people who returned from abroad are in home quarantine. Social workers and health professionals are mobilised for regular monitoring and check-ups, Mishra said.
Sunil Prajapati, Mayor of Bhaktapur Municipality, said that they had been working to collect names for the distribution of relief aid. “A large number of people seeking relief package is hard to handle by the Municipality, so we are working to shorten the list of the people eligible for relief materials,” Prajapati said.
“Responsibility has been given to every ward to finalise, but still a large number of people are filling out the form to receive the aid, so it is taking time. Maybe, it will be finalised by Tuesday and we will start to distribute the aid,” Prajapati said.
Mayor of the Madhyapur Thimi Municipality Madan Sundar Shrestha said that poor and needy families in the Municipality had already received the first lot of relief aid. The first round of distribution completed on Sunday.
“We will see the situation; if the lockdown is extended, there should be another round of aid distribution to poor families,” he informed.
The country is in lockdown since March 24.
People are staying indoors with the fear of the virus but what about the poor and the labourers? The work done by the local governments is somehow putting smiles on their faces and building their trust towards the local bodies in the district.
Kopila Khatri, a wage earner, said she received relief materials on Friday. Kopila, who hails from Dolakaha, has been staying at Bappamahadev in Madhyapur Thimi Municipality with her daughter. Her husband is in India for employment. She lost her source of income after the lockdown.
She said, “We are happy to have the relief aid when the food at our home has almost finished. I got a notice from one of my friends that the ward office was distributing the aid, so I went there to receive it with a citizenship certificate,” she said.
Pari Tamang from Sindhupalchwok is also staying in the Bappamahadev area with her two daughters. Her husband works in Bhairahawa. She said she was working as a daily wage labourer at a construction site, but had no work after the lockdown.
“I will manage for a few days with the relief aid provided by the government, but I don’t know what I will do after it is finished. It was almost a desperate situation for us, but now I am feeling some relief that I can feed my daughters for a few more days,” Tamang said.