Finding a room in Bhojpur a tough nut post quake

- Sahiman Rai, BHOJPUR

Jun 14, 2015-

It had already been three decades that Goma Tamang, 74, had been running a small but busy tea shop at the district headquarters Bhojpur Bazaar. She had been able to support her family with the income from the shop and save a little too.

But all that changed after the April 25 earthquake destroyed her tea shop and the house where she had been living. She is currently living under a tarpaulin built by the Nepal Army at Tundikhel, an open space in the town.

Similar is the story of Pemadiki Sherpa, 73, of Dadagaun in Bhojpur municipality-3. She, too, has been compelled to lived in a tent at Tundikhel with her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren after the April 25 earthquake.

Residents of Bhojpur municipality who have no property left apart from their ravaged homes have been compelled to take shelter in temporary shacks built by Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Red Cross at Tudikhel.

It has become very difficult to find rooms for rent at the district headquarters after the earthquake. Due to recurring tremors, majority of mud and brick houses have either collapsed or are in precarious state. Taking advantage of the situation, owners of concrete houses have raised the monthly rent of a single room by Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 citing their relative safety. Civil servants who are not living in government assigned quarters are also finding it hard to find rooms for rent.

One official who had shifted to a room in a new house at Bhojpur Bazaar immediately after the earthquake said the rent is increasing at the rate of Rs 500 each day. He is now paying Rs 3, 000 for a single room in a concrete house. Previously, he had been paying Rs 1,500 for a single room.

Meanwhile, Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Red Cross have jointly constructed 18 temporary shelters in Tundikhel. Each of these shelters houses 11 to 15 families. Out of five “model houses” made from tarpaulins provided by the Chinese Red Cross, three are at Tundikhel and two at district branch office of Red Cross. The Red Cross building in the district itself has sustained major damage in the earthquake. Besides most of the residents of the district headquarters whose houses have been damaged by the recurring tremors have made temporary shacks for them and their family to live in their own land from tarpaulins and other materials they have received from the government and other relief agencies.

But people living in these temporary shacks in Tundikhel say they face difficulties during rainfall and strong winds.

“Our beds get drenched every time it rains heavily and we have to spend sleepless nights on the floor,” Nimadiki Sherpa said, adding that it has become virtually impossible to find safe and affordable accommodations for rent in Bhojpur Bazaar.

“But we need a place to live despite the high rent. So we pay whatever the homeowners demand,” an employee at Urban Development and Building Construction Department Pushpa Dhimal said.

Out of the total 36,393 houses in Bhojpur district, 3,230 have been completely destroyed in the earthquake while 6,316 have sustained partial damage.

Published: 15-06-2015 08:19

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