Laprak, July 11
Eight months have passed since the permission to construct houses for victims of the 2015 earthquake was granted to Non-Residential Nepali Association. However, the NRNA has barely managed to instal the foundation for 270 houses in Laprak village, Gorkha.
As per the plan, NRNA is supposed to build 573 houses for earthquake victims at an estimated cost of Rs 350 million in 18.32 hectare government land in Ghupsipakha of Dharche Rural Municipality.
The association has attributed adverse weather and difficulty in supplying construction materials for delay in the construction. This delay is likely to hit the stipulated handover of the first batch of 300 homes by October this year.
NRNA Chairperson Shesh Ghale had expressed commitment to the project.
NRNA Laprak Model Settlement Project Manager Gopal Gurung admitted the delay and said, “We’re behind schedule, but this is all due to the difficulty in transporting construction materials amidst adverse weather.”
According to Gurung, the project has now asked the locals for help. “As managing construction materials is difficult, we’ve asked the victims for help,” he said, adding, the victim families each have been told to provide necessary timber, eight tractors of boulders and 40 bags of gravel. “Though it’s not in the contract signed with the government and the National Reconstruction Authority, we are helpless given the unforeseen situation,” he said, adding, “We have had to turn to the victims as the Forest Ministry said it couldn’t provide timber to those other than the victims.”
The victims, however, doubt they will be able to provide the project developer with the help sought. “The timber that we had went to build our shanties. We can donate labour, not timber,” said local Manilal Gurung, who is staying in a small shack. Though the victims had been staying in Ghupsipakha after the quake sensing the danger, they shifted back to their village to help with development of the model settlement.
While 150 Nepali Army personnel from Gorkha-based Ranasingh Dal Battalion are involved in the project, NRNA itself has also employed 167 workers. Besides, various teams of engineers from abroad are taking part in the construction. On top of it, engineers from the project’s consultancy D-Fort Designers Pvt Ltd are also engaged in the project. However, it was found that barely half the number of engineers are at the site every day against the fact that 12 of them have been employed. Company officials could not be reached for comment.
A total of 26 persons had lost their lives many left homeless in the 2015 earthquake in Laprak.
A version of this article appears in print on July 12, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.