Govt mulls relocating 1,000 settlements

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu
Govt mulls relocating 1,000 settlements

Jun 3, 2015-

The government is considering to relocate nearly 1,000 settlements in six earthquake affected districts to safer locations, including Bhutanese refugee camps in Jhapa and some of the cantonments used by former Maoist rebels.

It follows recommendation by a government taskforce after geological surveys in 18 villages--four each in Gorkha and Sindhupalchok districts, three each in Dhading and Dolakha, two each in Rasuwa and Nuwakot.

In a report submitted to the Home Ministry on Tuesday, the taskforce comprising experts from the Department of Mines and Geology and Icimod, suggested the government to relocate the settlements to safe areas before monsoon.

Some ministers and secretaries discussed on the report at a meeting chaired by Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam on Wednesday.

Based on the report, the political leadership is considering to shift these vulnerable human settlements to Bhutanese refugee camps in Jhapa and some of the cantonments used by former Maoist combatants. But it has yet to fix the time and ways to resettle them.

“A final call will be made on experts’ suggestion on Monday,” said Arjun Karki, secretary at the Ministry of Urban Development.

Besides reducing hundreds of human settlements to ruins, landslides triggered by the devastating April 25 earthquake and aftershocks have put those settlements at higher risk, an official said, quoting the report.

However, the government officials suggest the political leadership to relocate those settlements to safer places in the same district. “We prefer not to relocate these settlements outside their districts as people have sentimental attachments with the place,” said Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, spokesperson at the Home Ministry. Referring to largely ineffective resettlement moves carried during the Panchayat, he warned of administrative hassles in their wake.

Of the three relocations that took place in that period, relocation of settlements from Chisapani in Karnali to hills in Susta and to Padampur in Chitwan is considered the only successful model.


Published: 04-06-2015 07:28

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