‘Lack of workforce a challenge’ post-quake reconstruction

- Prahlad Rijal, Kathmandu

Jan 9, 2016-The lack of skilled masons and technical personnel, among other issues, might cause serious obstacles in swift implementation of reconstruction and rehabilitation campaign to be initiated from mid-January coinciding with National Earthquake Safety Day, experts warn. 

According to the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DoUDBC), around 50,000 trained builders and masons will be required for successful execution of reconstruction projects. However, the department has only trained 12,500 masons this year, with a plan to train another 1,000 the next year. 

“Especially at times like these, the trend of foreign migration is one of the major issues creating a gap in labour supply,” DoUDBC Director Ramesh Prasad Singh said. “But to tackle such issues, the department has followed Earthquake Resistant Building Construction Training Procedure 2072 and has allowed 16 different organisations to train builders and mason.” But only two of them have forwarded the details of trained masons and builders to the department so far, engineer at the department Ram Chandra Thapa said. 

To counter the issues and to execute the reconstruction plan, the department is now distributing educational books on Engineer’s Training on Earthquake Resistance Design of Building and Guideline for Mason Training on Earthquake Resistance Construction of Building to the manpower now available in the country. The department has also pledged to involve at least two trained builders in the initial phase of the building construction.   

Apart from the labour supply gap, the department point out unmanaged settlement, lack of awareness about building construction codes, poor monitoring of construction materials and lack of coordination among government and other organisations as major challenges in developing earthquake resilient structures. 

To overcome such issues, the department will soon bring out a concrete National Plan of Action for Safer Building Construction, Singh informed. The much-awaited reconstruction campaign is slated for January 16 launch under the National Reconstruction Authority.

Published: 09-01-2016 08:46

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