NPC taskforce to make recommendations

  • unified settlements in quake-hit districts

Aug 15, 2015-

The National Planning Commission has formed a taskforce led by its member Prem Dangal to recommend on development of unified settlements in earthquake-affected districts.

The five-member panel will include an NPC secretary and two joint secretaries from the Urban Development Ministry and the Physical Infrastructure Ministry as members.

An NPC joint secretary overseeing the infrastructure sector will work as the member secretary of the taskforce which will submit its report in three months.

Dangal, who also coordinated a panel that made policy recommendations on unified settlement development in all Mountain districts, said his team would recommend appropriate locations where earthquake-affected and disaster-prone villages could be relocated. Many settlements in the quake-affected districts face risks of landslides and floods due to the weak geological structure.

The taskforce would suggest how to develop the settlements in a planned way with essential infrastructure such as roads, drinking water, electricity and state facilities.

A report on unified settlement in Mountain districts submitted by the Dangal-led team to the NPC on Friday suggested selecting risk-free areas for resettlement.

The districts include Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha, Solukhumbu, Dolakha, Sindhupalchok, Rasuwa, Gorkha, Manang, Mustang, Dolpa, Mugu, Jumla, Kalikot, Humla, Bajhang, Darchula and Bajura.

The taskforce made the recommendations after a thorough study of Bajura where it even suggested locations for resettlement. The report wants the government to manage land for the purpose. If government-owned land is not available, land acquisition has been suggested.

While acquiring land, the owner should be paid in cash only the money required for him/her to build a house. The rest of the compensation would be in the form of shares of industries and development projects in the area. A “land exchange scheme” should also be introduced, suggested the taskforce, adding that separate provisions should be devised for landless and marginalised communities.

Dangal said unified settlements are necessary in Mountain districts as they are prone to disasters and it is difficult to develop roads and other infrastructure in scattered settlements.

Due to the lack of access to government facilities, there has been a rapid migration from Mountain and Hill districts to the Tarai. The taskforce recommends at least 16ft-wide road to an individual house and 32ft-wide road to public buildings. At least one open space should be allocated for every 100 households.

Houses in the settlements should be only up to two-storey tall. Settlement should not be developed on slopes greater than 30 degrees and the soil should be tested before construction.

The government should build a health post in each settlement with a medical doctor and health workers as required. Facilities like drinking water, sanitation and higher secondary school should also be managed, the taskforce recommends.

  • Taskforce to recommend appropriate locations
  • In Mountain districts, panel suggests govt role in arranging land
  • Houses should not be taller than two storeys
  • Minimum 16ft access road to individual houses
  • Arrangement of high school, health post and drinking water facilities

Published: 16-08-2015 09:46

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