July 25, Biratnagar. The Biratnagar Metropolitan City has refused to spend Rs. 7 million sent by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Planning of Province 1. Minister for Internal Affairs and Law Kedar Karki is in controversy saying that he was pressured to spend the amount.
The state government had handed over a grant of Rs. According to a source in the Kathmandu Metropolitan Corporation, Minister Karki has demanded to pay the bill by spending the amount till July 8.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs had sent Rs. The deadline to spend the amount was till July 8. A housing project is being carried out in Sukumbasi Tol under the leadership of Minister Karki.
According to a KMC source, Minister Karki has put pressure on him to prepare the documents after he said that he could not spend it in nine days. But the metropolitan leadership refused to prepare the document saying it could not spend it within nine days. The squatters had besieged the metropolis on July 8 after the metropolis refused to spend.
“About 15 percent of the previously allocated budget of Rs 4 million is still left,” said Gopal Pokharel, chief engineer of the metropolitan’s urban development division.
Deputy Mayor Shilpa Karki said that she could not spend Rs. According to a KMC source, Minister Karki pressured him to sign the report which was completed in nine days.
But she refused when pressured. “During the monitoring, it was seen that the work of Rs 4 million allocated earlier has not been completed,” she said.
In Biratnagar Metropolitan City-12, an agreement was reached between the Metropolitan City, Habitat for Humanity and State MP Karki to build 145 houses on 6 bighas and 16 katthas of land.
The housing project is estimated to cost Rs. 725,000 per house. According to the project, a three-room house with ground slope, bass fence and tin roof is being constructed.
According to Poonam Dahal, focal person of the metropolitan housing project, Habitat has provided Rs. The remaining amount was agreed to be managed by Mahanagar and MP Karki.
According to Dahal, all the residents of the slum have been provided land with the help of loan from the Jeevan Vikas Samaj. He said that the landlords have been given employment to repay the land loan.
“The squatters are being forced to buy land in their own name and houses are being built under the housing project,” he said.
23 million has been spent on the settlement. He said that the construction is estimated to cost Rs 150 million. He said that the construction of infrastructure including roads, parks, drinking water and electricity is estimated to cost Rs 150 million.
The first phase of the work was completed from Rs. 10 million allocated on June 29, 2010. 9 million in the second phase and 4 million in the third phase.
According to site engineer Pushpak Pradhan, work worth Rs 19 million has been completed. The last Rs 4 million work is a few percent left. According to him, the foundations of 90 houses have been laid and construction of 47 houses is in the final stage.
Minister for Internal Affairs and Law of State 1, Kedar Karki, claimed that the metropolis had not cooperated in allocating the budget for the payment of the work already done in the slum. Stating that the work was being carried out at a fast pace with the aim of handing over the houses to the squatters soon, he said that the metropolis had not cooperated in disbursing the money for the work.
“There has been a lot of work in the field, but the work has not been paid accordingly,” he said.
Karki said that the work for handing over the houses is in full swing even before the state and House of Representatives elections. But for political interests, the metropolitan leadership claimed that it had stopped the budget sent for the construction of squatters’ houses.
Minister Karki and Biratnagar Mayor Nagesh Koirala both belong to the Congress leader Shekhar Koirala group. However, power struggle is going on between them in the district. Leaders close to the minister say that the minister did not get support as the mayor had a power struggle and deputy mayor Karki was elected from a different party, the CPN-UML.