Thursday, May 7, 2015

Parliamentary committee directs government to adopt one-door policy for relief aid

International Relations and Human Rights committee today directed the government to take all the foreign assistance for relief and rehabilitation through government fund.
"We have directed the government to take the much-needed foreign assistance only through the government fund based on one-door policy,” the parliamentary committee chairman Prabhu Sah said, adding that they asked the government to prepare a plan and criteria to take aid for search, rescue, relief, resettlement and reconstruction. "Petty aid and wishful spending won’t bring any positive results."
The committee's directive came on a time, when most of the development partners have been interested in distributing aid through their own channels making the government think on their intentions. Due to prolonged political transition the international aid agencies have been hesitant to provide cash to the Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund instead they have said to spend through their own channels.
Though the government is asking the donors to channel the aid through the Fund, the Fund has only Rs 503 million – mostly donated by domestic donors – by Tuesday, though the Finance Ministry has already released Rs 4 billion till now.
The parliamentarians also opined that aid by some friendly nations and international organisations and their expenditures have not been transparent as they have spent according to their wishes. Directing the government to ask foreign rescue workers to return immediately, they also lashed out at the government for its failure for keeping record of the number of foreign rescue wworkers.
The lawmakers hailed the security agencies for their active role in rescue operations but criticised Home, Finance and Foreign Ministries for their lack of coordination.
They also directed the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers to make necessary arrangement to make Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund transparent.
Defense secretary Ishwori Prasad Poduel, who holds the command of the Central Natural Disaster Relief Committee, briefed the meeting on works of the committee and the ministry.
He informed the parliamentarians that some 65,017 Nepal Army personnel have been deployed for rescue and the Nepal Army choppers made 641 flights to quake-hit areas and rescued 4,974 people. Likewise, Nepal Army rescued some 2,372 people alive, treated some 984 people and dig out some 357 dead bodies.
Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan and some Indian Army retuned on May 5, after concluding search and rescue operations, he said, adding that Polish, Israeli, Thai, Indonesian, remaining Indian, Algerian and Sri Lankan returned home on May 6.


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