Government decision delay pegs back rebuilding works

  • timber distribution
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 15, 2016-

The delay in decision on collection and distribution of timber has affected many families waiting to rebuild their houses damaged by the April 25 earthquake. 

In a bid to ease the supply of timber, particularly logs required for rebuilding the damaged houses, the Department of Forests (DoF) had prepared a working 

procedure that includes a provision of upto 90 percent discount for the quake-affected households to build new houses. But even a couple of months after its initiation, the procedure awaits a government approval, consequently pegging back the reconstruction works. Nine months since the April 25 earthquake, many families, particularly in remote districts, are forced to live under filmsy tents due to lack of technical and financial support from the state in rebuilding their damaged house or constructing the new one. With the winter on, the life inside the temporary shelters in high altitude regions has become unbearable. 

“We agree that it has been already late to help the affected families. But, even though the procedure is not in place now, we have tried to facilitate the supply of firewood and timber in affected districts through the community forestry,” said Resham Dangi, director at the DoF. 

Dangi said the department has already lifted the restriction on the community forestry in the affected districts, allowing collection of wood up to 100 percent of total forest growth, from the previous ceiling of 40 percent. 

The government expects the community forest users’ group to meet 80 percent of the timber demands and the rest through a market mechanism that includes wood supplied by Timber Corporation of Nepal. According to the Home Ministry, around 602,257 houses were destroyed and 285,099 damaged by the quake and its aftershocks. The DoF has estimated 51,824,122 cubic feet of logs would be required to rebuild damaged structures, including public buildings, in 40 earthquake-hit districts in the country. The rural areas constitute 69 percent of the total demand. 

“The procedure was submitted to the Cabinet on Wednesday. We are fast tracking it for the swift implementation, hopefully from next week to coincide with the launch of the Reconstruction campaign on January 16,” said Uday Chandra Thakur, secretary at the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation. 

Published: 15-01-2016 09:20

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