Bulldozers take away jobs from villagers

- BHIM BAHADUR SINGH, JAJARKOT

Feb 5, 2018-

Locals in most mountain and hilly regions have been rendered jobless by bulldozers. Excavators are being used to carve out roads in mountainous terrain as development activities intensify, and in the process, labourers who used to work on construction sites are being deprived of their livelihood. 

There are no manual labour jobs nowadays. Many youths have been forced to migrate to India as they can’t get work despite the many road construction projects in the country. Earthmoving equipment is being used even for digging up rivulets. 

Jaya Bahadur Rawal, a resident of Nalgadh Municipality, said his three kid brothers were forced to travel to India to find work despite the road construction boom in the district. 

Buddhi Bahadur Khatri, a resident of Bheri Municipality, said that more than two dozen excavators had been brought to the district in the last nine months since the local level election. There were only four to five excavators in the district before. Khatri said that 

roads were being built haphazardly without studying surveys and designs.

Locals have accused local representatives such as mayors of municipalities and chairpersons of rural municipalities of being directly or indirectly involved in awarding contracts to their relatives. “They are also renting out their own excavators at inflated prices to earn money,” they said.

Although a Rs4.2 million budget had been proposed for the construction of the Chisapani-Anapani-Kalpat road, its cost has soared to Rs10 million due to haphazard construction. The cost overrun is due to the exorbitant rentals charged by the local representatives of Nalgadh Municipality for their own dozers.  

Khatri said that local level representatives had been constructing roads without paying attention to quality and environmental conditions. 

Competition is intensifying among representatives of Bheri, Chedagaar and Nalgadh municipalities and among representatives of Shivalaya, Kuse and Junichade rural municipalities. Local representatives pay as much as Rs12,000 per hour for their dozers. They have rejected the local consumer committee’s proposal to rent dozers for Rs4,000 per hour. The representatives are openly violating the law and awarding contracts to their own company or relatives, locals charged.

The road linking the district headquarters of Khalanga has been blacktopped, but some villages still lack motorable roads. 

Almost 50 percent of the development budget in many rural municipalities has been allocated for road construction. Some urban and rural municipalities have zero budgets for the agriculture, livestock and health sectors. 

Local leader Keshav Jung Shaha said that representatives in Jajarkot had been making money by buying bulldozers and hiring them out to construction projects. As the business has become lucrative, some are preparing to buy more. “Such a trend 

will adversely affect development projects.” 

Besides taking away jobs from local labourers, reckless use of dozers could harm the environment by causing landslides. More than 40 roads in the district are being constructed haphazardly. “These roads are being constructed not for allowing vehicles to ply, but for representatives to earn money.” 

Published: 05-02-2018 08:42

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