16,000 families apply for relief in Lalitpur, but the city office says it can’t provide for allMany families who need not depend on the government aid to go through the lockdown have also applied, officials say.
Lalitpur Metropolitan City has received thousands of applications from poor households for relief packages to survive during the lockdown, but the city officials say they can’t afford to provide for everyone.
The city office has received a total of 16,000 applications from 29 wards, a number that is too high for it to be able to help.
“The package was targeted for only poor families with no means to survive during the lockdown period, but the number of applications is too high. The city office can’t afford to provide relief to every family,” Raju Maharjan, spokesperson for the city, told the Post.
Following the nationwide lockdown enforced to stop the transmission of Covid-19, the city office last week had ordered all 29 ward offices to collect the details of families who depended on daily wages and cannot put food on their tables during the lockdown. The move was followed by the decision taken by the government to provide a relief package for daily wage and informal sector workers.
“Only about 12 percent of the applicants are permanent residents of the city, and the rest are students and families who have come from other parts of the country and are living here on rent. We need to reassess this number because everyone wants a relief package due to the uncertainty caused by the lockdown” Maharjan said.
Meanwhile, the city officials are finding it increasingly difficult to collect the details of the poor and vulnerable groups due to quarrels and arguments in neighbourhoods over who qualifies for the relief. The officials mobilised by the city’s ward offices to gather the data are reportedly being accosted by the people demanding that their families should be included on the relief recipient list.
“It is like the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. People who need not to rely on the government for food have applied for the relief,” Maharjan told the Post.
To ensure the relief packages go to the families genuinely in need of the government aid, the city officials are inquiring about the financial status of the applicants with their landlords and neighbours. But despite this approach, the city office is ending up with a high number of applications.
If all 16.000 families were to get relief packages, it would cost the city nearly Rs 15 million.
The relief announced by the city office comprises Rs 900 worth of food items, including 2.5kg of rice, 500g of pulses, cooking oil and salt, to each family.
The city office on Friday had announced to channel its disaster risk reduction fund to feed the families affected by the lockdown.
The country entered the 10th day of the lockdown on Thursday. The government had initially issued the lockdown orders for a week, only to extend it by another one week on Sunday until April 7 midnight.