Kathmandu, September 21 Many quake-affected houses that are standing precariously with the support of wooden beams in Kathmandu Valley continue to pose a grave threat to public safety, but the authorities concerned seem least bothered. Spokesperson for the Ministry of Urban Development Ramesh Prasad Singh said the local levels and the National Reconstruction Authority should ensure that the quake-affected houses did not pose safety risk. NRA Spokesperson Yam Lal Bhusal said the local levels concerned should ensure that vulnerable houses did not pose safety risk. “We mainly provide grant assistance to quake-affected families to reconstruct their houses,” Bhusal said, adding that it was primarily the duty of the owners to demolish their houses and build new ones. Spokesperson for Kathmandu Metropolitan City Gyanendra Karki said the metropolis had waived house design fee for quake-affected families. “We have issued notice to house owners whose houses pose immediate threat,” said Karki. Executive Director of Lalitpur Metropolitan City Hari Prasad Dahal said the government had announced Rs 300,000 grant to all families whose houses were damaged by the quake and Lalitpur Metropolitan City was doing its bit to facilitate disbursement of government grant. He said that lack of workers was also one reason why reconstruction work had failed to gain momentum. “It is primarily the duty of the house owners to demolish their quake-damaged houses and build new ones,” Dahal said and added that there were multiple factors slowing reconstruction efforts. “Some families do not have land ownership certificates. Some think that if they wait longer, the government may rebuild their houses,” Dahal said. He said he heard that the government would delegate local levels the powers to expedite reconstruction work and if that happened his office was ready to shoulder the responsibility. General Secretary of Disaster Management Network Bishnu Timilsina said the government’s inaction was posing a threat to public safety. “The houses that are supported by wooden beams in narrow lanes of Kathmandu can collapse any time,” he said and added that such houses should be demolished and those areas should be declared a no-go zone for the public. Preventive measures worth one dollar saves 17 dollars, but our government does not do anything to take preventive measures, Timilsina said. He said the new constitution had guaranteed all citizens the right to housing and if the house owners did not have money to demolish partially damaged buildings and rebuild new houses then the government should take care of their housing needs. According to the home ministry, over 202,157 buildings were fully damaged and 214,202 buildings partially damaged in the 2015 earthquakes.
Earthquake-damaged houses in Valley posing grave threat to public safety
Published: 04:25 am Sep 22, 2017