Dolakha locals choose to stay on landslide-prone ancestral land

Dolakha, April 19

The locals of Bigu Rural Municipality in Dolakha have chosen to stay in the settlement they have been living in for generations, despite the fact that the settlement is prone to landslides.

Only last year, seven people lost their lives when four houses were buried in massive landslides.

The village is 200 metres away from the Tamakoshi Hydro-project, where many of the locals are employed. The land that the village rests upon has grown unstable with the use of explosives during construction and the 2015 earthquake, putting it at a high risk of landslides.

The project has also been hampered with the locals’ refusal to shift to another settlement. Although the hydro-project had attempted to shift the settlement to a different place and offered financial incentives to do so, most of them had refused.

Karna Bahadur Tamang, 50, a local, said the villagers were ready to die on their ancestral land. “We will die here, but won’t leave for any place else,” he said.

Nine families with 60 people live in the village. With no arable land, the villagers eke out a living through goat keeping and as daily wage labourers.

The project had reportedly paid Rs 2.27 million to the villagers as rent for the land, so they could buy land in a different location and build their homes. However, the villagers did not shift their settlement. Spokesperson Ganesh Neupane of the project said that the project had not been able to persuade the villagers to move. He said the project had offered Rs 1.5 million to families willing to shift.

Neupane said some families, however, had taken Rs five lakh as first instalment to buy land in Charikot.