Dolakha, December 3
Leaking ceiling is a common problem with all the houses built for earthquake victims by SOS Children’s Village in Lakuridanda of Bhimeshwor Municipality, Dolakha.
According to quake victim Buddha Lama of Lakuridanda, most of the houses have the problem of leakage. “SOS had pledged to build 107 houses bearing the entire cost of construction in Lakuridanda in the beginning, but later we quake victims were told to chip in two to three lakh rupees. We made our contribution and got the houses.
Now it has turned out that most of these houses have a leakage problem,” he said. He also said that repairing his house would cost additional 1.5 lakh rupees.
Another quake victim Birman Tamang said they had no option but to shift back to the previous shelter after the new houses started leaking. “SOS has said it will help with repairs of houses but when and how much it will contribute is still unclear,” he said. Tamang further vented his ire saying, “They didn’t let us build our own house then and have now given us leaking houses.”
Yet another quake victim Om Tamang blamed contractors for the leakage problem. “It’s the contractor’s fault. We did inform the SOS about the negligence of the contractor in time but to no avail. The SOS didn’t hear us and it has failed to hold any public hearing about its expense on the construction of houses,” he said.
On his part, SOS Children Village communication director Sitaram Subedi admitted that the houses built by the organisation had the problem of leakage. “The problem of leakage was seen in most of the houses but it was apparently not due to the use of substandard materials but because the plaster on the roof couldn’t soak water needed
for it to set,” argued Subedi, who put the average cost of each of those houses at 1.448 million rupees.
“It cost 9.75 lakh rupees for the construction of a proper house; the total cost of a house, if we are to take account of the expenditure for drinking water, latrine, paintings and the likes, stands somewhere near 1.5 million rupees,” he said, adding that District Coordination Committee of Dolakha and Bhimeshwor Municipality had been duly informed about the expenditure incurred by the project for the construction of houses for quake victims.
Meanwhile, Bhimeshwor Municipality Mayor Bharat KC showed his reservations with regard to the SOS Children’s Village housing project for quake victims. “We’ve asked the SOS to submit its report with full details of expenditure but to no avail,” he said, adding, “It won’t be acceptable to us until the locals are satisfied with its work.”
A version of this article appears in print on December 04, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.