Army Built Old-Age Homes Remain Unoccupied Even After Three Years

Kathmandu, Aug. 5: Nepal Army built 10 old-age homes at Lapsiphedi in Shankharapur Municipality at an investment of Rs. 30 million from Nepali Army Welfare Fund (NAWF) and inaugurated them with much fanfare three years ago. But the investment seems to have been fallen into a risk as the cabins still remain unoccupied as they are far away from the city centre.

Located some 25 kilometres away from downtown Kathmandu, to the north-east of Manichund Danda, the old-age homes were inaugurated by former Army Chief Rajendra Chhetri on February 15, 2017.

Money to construct 10 separate cabins was invested from the NAWF, the sole welfare institution, established for the welfare and wellbeing of both the serving and retired army personnel, including their family members.
The cabins that were constructed and inaugurated with much hullaballoo, have now turned into a state of disuse.
However, Nepal Army Headquarters during a press meet organised five days ago had claimed that they would not let it go to waste, as they were preparing to bring them into operation.

Ironically, there are 23 other such cabins close to them which are in operation with all types of facilities that are required for the senior citizens, according to Mitrasen Dahal, founder and chairman of JP Foundation, who had also built old-age homes in the same land of Manichund Danda in support of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare. Currently, 40 senior citizens live in those cabins.

According to Dahal, the old-age homes built under the investment of the Nepal Army are currently in abandoned state with no interior finishing and furnishing. After constructing the cabins, the NA could not keep the project in their priority list, he said.

The buildings cover an area of 25 ropanis out of total 100 ropanis, according to Dahal.
Brigadier General and spokesperson at the Nepali Army Headquarters Shantosh Ballave Poudyal conceded to The Rising Nepal that the old age homes built by the NAWF targeting to house the retired senior citizens of Nepali Army could not come into operation due to technical difficulties.

He mentioned the location and distance as technical difficulties for people who choose to go and stay there.
The Nepali Army Headquarters is soon forming a separate taskforce to study and report about the non-operation of the old-age homes built by investing the Fund’s money.

“The taskforce will provide a feedback to the Headquarters after holding extensive discussions with the beneficiaries of the Fund and stakeholders for taking appropriate steps,” Poudyal, who is also the director at Directorate of Public Relations and Information (DPR&I), said.

During the inauguration time, the NA and JP Foundation had named the placed as Jestha Nagarik Gram, a geriatric village.

According to Dahal, the cabins operated by them are providing homes free of cost to those penniless people upon the recommendation of the Ministry and from their own management, and those who can pay were being charged from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 12,500 per month according to the services and facilities they choose to take.
He also said that his Foundation was ready to assist in operating their old-age homes within a week if the army gave its consent.

But the idea floated by Dahal cannot work as the old-age homes built by the army are not meant for accommodating civilians as per the regulation of the Welfare Fund.

– The Rising Nepal

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