Print Edition - 2017-03-08  |  News

Quake-displaced demand safe place for resettlement

- SUDIP KAINI, GORKHA

Mar 8, 2017- The earthquake-displaced people living in Kerauja, Barpak, Gumda, Uhiya, Sirdibash, Gyalchowk, Masel, Aruchanaut and Baguwa VDCs of Gorkha have demanded the government to find them suitable land plots to construct new houses.

They have been living in hutments of plastic sheets and sticks after the destructive earthquake of April 25, 2015, flattened their homes and caused a widespread surface ruptures and soil failures.
Suka Bahadur BK of Barpak-5 said the earthquake left his family without a safe place to build a house. 
“The land where our previous house stood is unsafe now. We cannot build there, it’s too risky,” he told the representatives of the government officials at an interaction organised by the Gorkha district chapter of the Federation of Nepali Journalists on Monday.
The earthquake-displaced families in the nine VDCs have already received the first instalment of the housing aid from the National Reconstruction Authority, but most of them are still undecided whether to build on the same land. Meanwhile, they also fear that they may not get the second batch of the aid without starting the construction of new homes.
“We have been warned that without starting house construction, the government is going to take back Rs 50,000 that we received as the first instalment of the housing aid,”said BK.
Kabita Ghale of Kerauja-4 said very little have changed for her family since the earthquake.
“Our lives are still in shambles. We are living in temporary huts as though the earthquake had hit just yesterday. What we need is a safe place to build a home, not relief materials,” she lamented before the government officials.
A few months ago, a team of geologists had conducted safety assessment of Kerauja, Sirdibash, Machhikhola, Barpak, Uhiya and Gumda VDCs. The team had found that hundreds of families were living in vulnerable areas and advised the government to resettle them immediately. However, the suggestion has not been heeded. 
Roshan Shrestha, chief of the Urban Development and Building Division Office, said they were unable to launch the resettlement programme as the government has not issued any work guidelines.
Chief District Officer Jitendra Basnet also said the resettlement programme was being delayed due to lack of clear policy.
“While the National Reconstruction Authority does not have a clear policy about resettlement, we are also having difficulty finding a safe location to move the displaced families,” he said.

Published: 08-03-2017 08:14

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