Ramechhap locals struggle to build houses for lack of timber

- TIKA PRASAD BHATTA, RAMECHHAP

Mar 26, 2017-

Shortage of timber in various parts of Ramechhap, one of the districts most affected by the April 2015 earthquake, has forced quake survivors here to shell out money on expensive iron rods.

The government earlier had introduced a policy of subsidised timber for quake survivors, but the District Forest Office (DFO) is yet to come up with a concrete plan about the same, forcing people here to use iron rods in place of timber while building houses that were destroyed by the quake.

According to the District Urban Development and Building Division Office (UDBDO), around 4,000 houses have been built in the district after the quake, but the victims have not been able to receive timber.

As per the rule laid down by the government while reconstructing quake-damaged houses, walls must be banded with timber or iron rods. 

Since there is an acute shortage of timber, quake survivors are left with no option than to use iron rods, which locals say majority of quake survivors cannot afford. Hence, they here are waiting for the government agencies to make subsidised timber available so that they can rebuild their houses. 

Ram Bahadur Karki, a quake survivor of Pakarbas, said he has not been able to build his house due to lack of wood. 

According to DFO estimates, around 500,000 cubic feet of timber is required to construct quake-ravaged houses in the district. But, there’s only 150,000 cubic 

feet of timbers available in the forests. There’s no Saal wood available in Ramechhap forests. 

District Forest Officer Ram Bichari Thakur said he was working to bring timber from other districts. “But the Department of Forest is yet to release budget to buy and transport wood from other districts,” said Thakur. 

Durga Bahadur Shrestha, district chairman of the Community Forest Consumer Association, accused the DFO of not being serious about the plight of quake survivors who are at their wit’s end for the lack of timber. 

“People are forced to buy expensive iron rods,” said Shrestha.

Published: 26-03-2017 08:52

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