Reconstruction work in Dolakha at snail’s pace

Dolakha, August 27

Reconstruction of houses damaged by the devastating earthquakes of 2015 is moving at a snail’s pace in Bhimeshwor Municipality and Jiri Municipality of Dolakha.

Quake victims say that paucity of skilled manpower for house construction and delay in the distribution of housing grant by the government have made reconstruction work sluggish.

National Reconstruction Authority has set a target of completing reconstruction within this fiscal. Most of the quake victims of many rural municipalities and municipalities, however, rule out such a possibility.

There are 4,171 quake victim families entitled to receive the housing grant in Jiri Municipality. However, only 382 families have got the second tranche of the grant. Similarly, out of 8,471 families entitled to receive the housing grant, only 1,186 families have received the second instalment in Bhimeshwor Municipality.

Bed Shankar Bhandari of Kalinchowk Rural Municipality said lack of skilled technicians had delayed construction work. “We cannot have houses built by the end of the current fiscal,” Bhandari said.

Bal Bahadur Tamang, 54, of Jhule in Tamakoshi Rural Municipality said he could not reconstruct his house as he had just received Rs 50,000 as the first instalment provided by the government and he was yet to locate a safe place to build the house. “Lack of skilled manpower and shortage of safe places for house construction have delayed reconstruction work,” Tamang said.

Sitaram Karki of Tamakoshi Rural Municipality also faces the same problems. “I have neither got technicians nor a safe place to build the house,” Karki complained.

Urban Development Ministry Project Implementation Unit Chief Ekraj Adhikari said work was not as sluggish as in other districts. According to Adhikari, there are 2,100 technicians in the district and various organisations are providing training to produce the required number of technicians and masons for house reconstruction.

However, the District Coordination Committee’s Secretariat claimed that house reconstruction work was rapid in the district. According to Secretariat Chief Sagar Acharya, more than 15,000 families have already constructed houses in the district.

Acharya informed that 1,500 families had received the third instalment of the housing grant while 11,000 families had got the second instalment of the grant. He admitted that construction work was slow in municipalities in comparison to rural municipalities of the district.

Acharaya said municipality staffers’ delay in approving house designs had made the reconstruction process sluggish in municipalities.

According to NRA Dolakha, 23 per cent houses have been reconstructed in Dolakha.